Crowds At W-B Parade Pay Respect To Those Who Served
A crowd of hundreds waited patiently for the Wyoming Valley Veterans Day Parade to make its way across the Market Street Bridge and arrive in Public Square in Wilkes-Barre on Sunday.
Some said they would wait as long as it took.
“I’m here to support the troops,” said Helen Maccareo, of Wyoming. “How could you not?”
Maccareo’s son, nephew and brother-in-law all served their country in the military, she said.
Madalyn Pickett, of Wilkes-Barre, said her late husband served in the U.S. Army for six years, stationed in Germany in the late 1950s “just before Elvis got there.”
Pickett said she and her husband, who was buried in his Army uniform, used to attend the annual Veterans Day parade together.
“He said it was his duty to be here,” she said. “Now it’s my duty.”
Pickett said she never considered skipping Sunday’s parade, though she conceded she was tired and cold.
“That’s nothing compared to what some of them went through,” she said.
Linda Lee Ritter, of Wilkes-Barre, was there to honor several relatives who served.
First, in chronological order, was her great-uncle, who served in World War I — which ended 100 years ago, to the day, with the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918.
She also lost an uncle in the 1950 train accident that claimed the lives of 33 members of the 109th Field Artillery. A brother and a cousin also served, she said.
“It’s very important to be here,” Ritter said. “I support our troops, no matter what.”
The parade reached the Square shortly after 2:30 p.m., as spectators cheered and waved American flags. Some called out “thank you.” A tank rolling slowly down Market Street proved popular with cellphone photographers.
The parade featured military units, veterans and service organizations, police and firefighters, local officials and school groups such as the Wyoming Valley West marching band, which performed familiar patriotic music. Near the review stand across from Public Square, the Meyers High School cheerleaders performed a “proud to be a veteran” cheer.
Linda Joseph, of Wilkes-Barre, watched the action near the end of the parade route. She said she was there partly in memory of her uncle, who was reported missing in action in World War II and never came home.
Joseph, who has saved the Purple Heart awarded to her late uncle, echoed the words of many in the crowd when asked why she stood in the cold to watch the parade.
“I think it’s important that we honor our veterans,” she said.
Contact the writer: