With the sounds of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" humming away in the background, about 70 people, veterans, their spouses and family members, gathered Thursday for the ninth annual Veterans' Luncheon, hosted by Heritage Hill Senior Community in Weatherly.

According to Lisa Marie Halecky, marketing/admissions director at Heritage Hill, veterans were invited from Carbon, Luzerne, Monroe and Schuylkill counties.

"We do a lot of programs and activities with our veterans throughout the year," Halecky said, "but nine years ago we decided to extend our gratitude by involving non-resident veterans from the surrounding communities and invite them to join in our acknowledgment of Cora and George Berger came from Drums to attend the luncheon. George Berger served in the U.S. Army in World War II in Europe. their service to our county.

"They thank us for including them, but this our way of saying thanks to them for their service," she added. "It is an honor and privilege the serve those who served for us."

Henry Desrosiers, director of Veterans Affairs for Carbon County, also addressed the gathering.

"The military draws out the best in all of us." Desrosiers said. "The word veteran speaks of courage."

Desrosiers reminded everyone present to, "remember our returning veterans today, many of whom are wounded in mind, body and spirit."

In addition, Desrosiers informed that group of the availability of a new line of military license plates to be offered by PennDOT.

"As of Monday you will be able to order the new plates when you renew your plates," said Desrosiers.

A press release was issued by PennDOT on Thursday.

"Members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces decorated for valor or meritorious service during a time of armed conflict can now proudly display their medals through a new series of military license plates offered by PennDOT. Members of our armed forces who have received these medals have proven their commitment to their fellow service men and women and to protecting our freedom under the worst of circumstances," PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said.

"PennDOT is proud to recognize them once more and give them an opportunity to publicly display their distinguished honors."

The speeches were followed by the recognition of each of the veterans residing at Heritage Hill.