What a beautiful day for a parade! Nesquehoning's Memorial Day reflected on the veterans and what the day means to those who spoke at the service.
The parade consisted of marchers of soccer, scouts, baseball, JROTC, and veterans organizations. Due to the small numbers in the Panther Valley Band this year, only one band marched and this year they were in Lansford's parade.
Olivia Dacey reigned as 2011 Poppy Queen with her court Gabriella Greek, Christina Dacey, Emma Dacey, Julia Romankow, Emma Kattner, and Alyssa Kattner. The Poppy King was Nicholas Ellis and in his court were Jacob and Anthony Ellis.
The King and Queen led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Walter Breiner, VFW commander; Nesquehoning Mayor Tony Walck; and Ed Coll, commander of Legion Post 172 gave remarks. Sarah (Bliss)Hagopian sang appropriate patriotic songs with her beautiful voice, and other songs were sung by the combined Nesquehoning VFW and Meeds Memorial Chorus.
JROTC cadets Codey Drum, Lazur Zenon, and Chelsea Digiglio gave their rendition of Gettysburg Address, Logan's General Orders, and In Flanders Field.
The main speaker was SSGT Brain Sommers, who served two tours in Afghanistan, one in Bagram in 2007 and the other in Kandahar in 2010. He is a graduate of Panther Valley High School and Kutztown University. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 2001 and served as a jet engine mechanic at Shaw AFB in South Carolina until 2004. From 2004 to 2009 he served with the 31st Aerial Post Squadron at Willow Grove and from 2009 until the present time he is with the 193rd SOW Aerial Post Squadron in Harrisburg.
Mayor Walck told the people "instead of seeing a stone monument of these pople, we see the faces of these people". Ed Coll, Legion 172 commnader informed those present that he read only this morning that there are 273 Pennsylvania residents who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ed Lucas UVO chaplin opened the program with the Invocation and Ted Dacey, VFW chaplin closed with the Benediction. Lucas also read the roll of the deceased since last Memorial Day. There are 30 names. They are Stephen Bretzik, Rodney Grimm, Benjamin Arthur, Derek Snisky, John Gayda, Rudy Manak, Arthur Lavine, Dominic Yacobucci, Frank Parano, John Emanuel, Thomas McGregor, Leo McArdle, Nicholas Malik, John "Sonny" Kovatch, George Litwenetz, Casey WIlliams, Harry Cherb, Edawrd Kressly, Robert Rehatchek, Michael Hudock, John Pero, Donald Young, Michael Pituch, Salvatore Ouly, Michael Malatak, Pete Nester, Michael Hrinkonich, Anthony Velitsky, Michale Zavagansky, and Edward Hydro.