As the expression goes, one door often opens another.
When the family of the late Ernest Enrietti decided last summer to fly the flag that had draped his casket at the Carnegie borough building for two weeks, under a program with the nearby Chartiers Veterans Association Post 331, they didn't know it would lead to recovery of more of their loved one's past.
Mr. Enrietti's wife, Lena, who had brought her late husband's World War II medals with her to the ceremony, happened to mention to Mayor Jack Kobistek that some of them were missing.
Mr. Enrietti, who died in 1995, served with the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Langley as a signalman first class in the Pacific during World War II, where he demonstrated outstanding heroism against Japanese forces during deployment in the Philippines. He was recognized by the Navy Department for his courage.
Mr. Kobistek contacted U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and his office investigated, verified and located the appropriate medals.
On Monday,Mr. Murphy presented Mrs. Enrietti with World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal (with two Bronze Star appurtenances), Combat Action Ribbon, Honorable Service Lapel Pin, Discharge Button and Honorable Discharge Pin.
"I am honored to present Ernest Enrietti's wife Lena with the medals he earned serving our country in World War II," said Mr. Murphy. "His courage and sacrifice contributed to our ultimate victory in the Pacific and the liberation of millions in Asia and Europe."
A delighted Mr. Kobistek also was on hand for the presentation, which took place at the Chartiers Senior Center on Lincoln Avenue in Carnegie.
"[Mrs. Enrietti] said it was the best Christmas present she could get," the mayor said.
Many Carnegie residents will remember Mr. Enrietti as the former owner of Enrietti News on the East Mall Plaza for many years.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.