Service and Sacrifice: Honoring Our Veterans
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | Heinz History Center

6:00 pm | Free | Pre-register to attend
At no time in our history have Americans had among them veterans from so many wars: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and on the border of Syria--and that's not counting veterans of smaller engagements. This difficult period has also witnessed the return of a broad sense of honor for American veterans. Our service men and women are celebrated in advertisements, ball parks, schools and on the streets. In this very unusual Post-Gazette town meeting, we will hear from veterans and learn of their triumphs and their trying circumstances

Register here or call 412-263-3850. Include names of attendees

Moderator: David Shribman
Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Executive editor since 2003. Former assistant managing editor, columnist and Washington bureau chief at the Boston Globe. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

Introduction: Percy Simpson
Senior Vice President of PNC Financial Services Group and graduate of the U.S. military academy at West Point.


Fritz Ottenheimer (WWII)
The Ottenheimer family smuggled hundreds of Austrian and German Jews into Switzerland before fleeing to the United States in 1939. After high school graduation, Fritz Ottenheimer joined the U.S. Army for the final drive across Germany as the end of the war neared. In 1991, he released his autobiography, Escape and Return: Memories of Nazi Germany. At 89, Ottenheimer still speaks about the Holocaust, both here and in Germany.

Thomas M. Fitzgerald (Vietnam )
Fitzgerald was a field medic in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars. He later helped raise funds to build an elementary school and medical clinic in Vietnam and co-founded the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA, now the Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA.

Michael Flournoy (Vietnam)
Staff Sergeant Michael Flournoy served in the U.S. Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division and the O-Deuce recondo unit in the 101st Airborne Division. He worked for 35 years as a readjustment therapist/counselor in the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System. Retired in 2011, Allegheny County Council issued a proclamation that year recognizing Flournoy for his “dedicated service to improving the lives of the veterans of our country and for spreading knowledge of the history of African-Americans serving in our country’s military.” Flournoy served on the advisory committee for the Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era exhibit at Heinz History Center.

Michele Papakie (Afghanistan)
Lt. Col. Papakie is an Inspector General with the 171st Air Refueling Wing of the Pennsylvania National Guard. She joined her unit right out of high school, while attending college. Her 27-year career includes service as a public affairs officer and a military equal opportunity officer at her base in Pittsburgh and as a sexual assault prevention and response program manager in Afghanistan in 2010. A former public affairs officer for the City of Pittsburgh Police, Dr. Papakie is now chairwoman of the Journalism Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Parking lots are available on Smallman Street. Rates and staffing vary. Metered street parking is available around the History Center and is free after 6 p.m.

Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (in the Strip District). Take elevators to 5th floor.

Question cards will be distributed and collected from the audience. Moderator David Shribman will review questions and select those to be asked of panelists.

Admission is free but please pre-register. Visit the registration page at or call 412-263-3850. Include names of attendees.

PNC and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will host a series of five town meetings in 2014. Insightful panels of national and local experts will be assembled for each of the free public forums to provide Pittsburghers with perspective on issues dominating the news.

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