Anytime, anywhere . . . two words used by the United States Air Force today to describe their ability to deter America’s enemies.  Anytime, anywhere . . . two words used by Mrs. Earlie Whiteman when she heard the news that her son, 2nd Lt. George Whiteman was killed in action during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Now, 60 years after the renaming of Sedalia Air Force Base to Whiteman Air Force Base, the Sedalia Chamber Leadership Class and Military Affairs Committee are partnering in a new commemoration of Whiteman, his attachment to Sedalia, and the importance of the installation that bears his name.  The Whiteman Corridor in Sedalia will be officially dedicated on Armed Forces Day, May 16, 2015.

The Whiteman Corridor, an idea first voiced by Terri Ballard, a local arts enthusiast, begins at the Whiteman home located on West 24th Street, now owned by Steve and Valerie Bloess, where Mrs. Whiteman heard the news and told the Democrat reporter, “It might have happened anytime, anywhere. We've got to sacrifice loved ones if we want to win this war."  Lt. Whiteman was the first American pilot killed in aerial combat during World War II.   A marker will be placed at the former Whiteman home, providing visitors with some of the history behind “Anytime, anywhere.”

The second stop in the Whiteman Corridor will be located at the corner of 24th and Grand in Katy Park.  With the cooperation of the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department and the craftsmanship of local artist, Don Luper, this stop in the Whiteman Corridor creates an “art-in-the-park” destination point for locals and visitors alike.  Luper’s sculpture reminds us of Lt. Whiteman’s sacrifice during World War II, commemorates his memory and re-affirms Sedalia’s relationship with Whiteman Air Force Base.

The Whiteman Corridor ends at Lt. Whiteman’s gravesite in Memorial Park Cemetery.   The gravesite is the location of the Wreath Laying Ceremony held each year memorializing Lt. Whiteman’s ultimate sacrifice of his life at Pearl Harbor.   A marker will be placed at this location, providing a history lesson to visitors with the story of Lt. Whiteman and the renaming of the Sedalia Air Force Base to Whiteman Air Force Base.

May 16, 2015, will be dedication of the new Whiteman Corridor.  The annual Wreath Laying Ceremony, hosted by the Sedalia Chamber Military Affairs Committee, will start at 11 am at Lt. Whiteman’s gravesite.  Following this solemn ceremony, the dedication will be held at the corner of 24th and Grand in Katy Park.

With assistance from the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department and Fischer’s Concrete, the site at Katy Park has been fully funded.  The Sedalia Chamber Leadership Class and the Military Affairs Committee are looking for sponsors to offset the cost of the markers to be set at the Whiteman home and at his gravesite.  Contributions can be made to the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsors will be recognized at the dedication ceremony on May 16.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the Leadership Class representatives, call the Sedalia Chamber at (660) 826-2222, or the Military Affairs Committee, Dianne Simon at (660) 287-7989.