TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Al Kohler (front), of Palmerton American Legion Post 269 and Shawn Schmick (kneeling), commander, Palmerton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7134, place a wreath in front of Palmerton Borough Hall to Honor all Who Served both Past and Present during the Carbon County Veterans Day Parade held Sunday in Palmerton.
They come from all walks of life.
On Sunday, they intermingled together for the annual Carbon County Veterans Day Parade in Palmerton.
The six-division march was hosted by the Palmerton United Veterans Organization, which consists of the Palmerton American Legion Post 269 and Palmerton VFW Post 7134.
The theme of this year's parade was "Honor all Who Served both Past and Present." The parade began with the singing of the national anthem by Nicole Rose Donatone.
Al Kohler, who represented the Palmerton American Legion Post 269, and Shawn Schmick, commander of the Palmerton VFW Post 7134, placed a wreath in front of borough hall to pay tribute to veterans of all wars. Kohler then recited a memorial prayer.
The parade lasted about an hour, and featured various bands, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, fire departments, and ambulance corps. Among the bands were the Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, Panther Valley and Weatherly area high school marching bands.
There were 19 veterans organization from Carbon County that participated: eight American Legions; six VFW; two AMVETS; one Marine Corps League; one Navy; and one Vietnam Veterans Organization.
Ed Moyer, commander of American Legion Post 269, said he was disappointed with the sparse crowd that attended the event.
"The parade went well, but the people of Carbon County missed a real good parade," Moyer said. "I, as a veteran, felt insulted, and as the coordinator, felt embarrassed for having thousands of hours and thousands of dollars we spent to organize this parade; and to actually parade through a ghost town. I felt bad that people couldn't give two hours to support the veterans, who give 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to preserve our freedoms."
Moyer said he was thankful for the 75 groups and 1,300 marchers who participated.
"Other than that, I was proud of the groups that attended," he said. "I want to thank all the groups who did attend."
Henry Desrosiers, director of Carbon County Veterans Affairs, said he was pleased with the number of participants as well.
"I was impressed with the amount of people that participated in the parade," Desrosiers said. "It goes to show that all our local organizations support our veterans."
Desrosiers encouraged all residents throughout the county to make it a point to attend the parade.
"We're looking for bigger and better parades in the future," he said. "We would appreciate everybody from all the boroughs coming to witness these parades in support."
Of the current veteran population in our country, 9.2 million are over the age of 65; 1.9 million are under the age of 35; and 1.8 million are women.
Next year's parade is tentatively scheduled to be held in Jim Thorpe. The 2012 parade will be held in Palmerton to mark the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the borough. As part of the parade, there will be a dedication of a veterans memorial that will honor veterans from the Palmerton area who served in wartime.