An informal ceremony Thursday morning on Center Square kicked off the hanging of 89 Hometown Hero banners around the Square and on Baltimore and Washington streets in Greencastle. Installation is continuing this week.

Mike Blank, vice commander of Harry D. Zeigler VFW Post 6319, noted it was supposed to be a more momentous event for families and sponsors. COVID-19 restrictions limited the ceremony to a few representatives of the Borough of Greencastle, Antrim Township and the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, along with Jay Sensenig, owner of FASTSIGNS, which made the banners, and employee Shawn Myers, who created the design.

"What better way to thank veterans than hanging a banner on their behalf," Blank said. "Help us celebrate the unveiling ... celebrating and remembering veterans."

Blank said the patriots of Greencastle really stepped up for the project. Organizers' hopes that 50 banners would be ordered were far exceeded.

Mayor Ben Thomas Jr. offered thanks on behalf of the citizens of Greencastle and said people will visit the community just to walk around and look at the banners.

Georgina Cranston, executive director of the chamber, thanked the borough public works department employees who are hanging the banners and prayed for their safety as well as the community.

Valerie Myers, the chamber's executive assistant, said how neat it was to talk to families as they came in to order banners and "show love for their veterans."

The banners honor veterans from World War I to those who are currently serving.

The first two banners hung on Thursday honor Frank L. Carbaugh and Harry D. Zeigler, in whose honor the local American Legion and VFW, respectively, are named. They hang on the eastern edge of Center Square at Baltimore Street.

Carbaugh was serving with the U.S. Army when he died Aug. 1, 1918, after being wounded during the Second Battle of the Marne in France.

Zeigler was serving in the Navy when he was killed in action on May 9, 1942, during the World War II Battle of the Coral Sea. 

A third banner placed Thursday morning, this one at the north edge of Center Square at Carlisle Street, honors Benjamin F. Bitner. He was killed April 23, 2011, while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

The Hometown Hero honorees include six who were killed in action and two awarded the Purple Heart — one of them twice. The military branches represented include the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Air Corps , U.S. Army Reserves, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy. 

The banners will hang through Veterans Day in November.

The Hometown Hero banners project started more than a year ago with a committee including representatives of the VFW, American Legion and the chamber.

Banners cost $175 each and can be ordered by contacting the chamber of commerce at 717-597-4610.