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Rain doesn’t dampen veterans parade

Not much comes between Carbon County and its veterans.

It’s no surprise then that despite a cool mist falling for most of the morning and afternoon, Carbon County’s annual Veterans Day Parade drew a spirited crowd Sunday in Nesquehoning.

The five-division parade, featuring a steady diet of veterans groups, high school marching bands and other community organizations, stepped off as scheduled just before 2 p.m. to a lot of fanfare along West Catawissa Street.

Nesquehoning’s United Veterans Organization, consisting of American Legion Post 8008 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8008 got things going with a rifle salute and ceremonial playing of taps near St. Patrick’s Cemetery grounds.

Following close behind the Nesquehoning UVO was grand marshal Joseph T. Matula Sr., a lifelong resident of Nesquehoning who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 and served in Vietnam.

Matula is a past commander of the VFW Post 8008 of Nesquehoning and a past District 20 VFW commander.

The Panther Valley JROTC and high school marching band played a patriotic medley that got toes tapping along the damp street.

“I think our patriotism is one thing that still brings us together as a community and a nation,” said George Palmer, a veteran who served in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Palmer watched Sunday’s parade with his wife, Elizabeth. Both brought chairs but never used them, standing to support each fellow veteran passing by.

“It’s great to see how many people turned out and how many people see the hat you wear and thank you for your service. Nobody actively seeks this recognition, but I guarantee you everyone participating today appreciates it.”

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Bands from Carbon County’s other schools including Palmerton, Jim Thorpe, Lehighton and Weatherly also participated in the event.

Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and UVO groups from the Panther Valley area, Jim Thorpe, Palmerton, Lehighton and Weatherly were also well represented.

While the parade is centered in Carbon County, it attracts groups beyond the borders including the American Legion Post 16 from Slatington. Members rode atop a military cargo truck driven by Michael Martino.

The United States Submarine Veterans, Pocono chapter, proudly displayed its 17-foot-long model of the World War II submarine USS Barb.

Sunday’s light rain didn’t dampen the spirits of Lisa and John Kennard of Lehighton, who proudly waved American flags handed out by parade volunteers.

“These men and women deserve our support,” they said. “They put their lives on the line so others don’t have to worry. I think it’s wonderful how active our area is in supporting the veterans.”

Though Halloween is over, a parade still means candy, and participants in the Veterans Day parade were not in short supply.

Each passing vehicle sent young ones scattering near the West Catawissa Street curbs for every last piece.

“You can never have enough candy,” said 9-year-old Bryce Allen. “I love parades.”

Just like Carbon County loves its veterans.

JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWSThe Nesquehoning United Vtereans Organization color front helps kick off the Carbon County Veterans Day Parade Sunday on West Catawissa Street in Nesquehoning.
Members of American Legion Post 16 in Slatington ride atop a military cargo truck driven by Michael Marino in the Carbon County Veterans Day Parade on Sunday. For a video of the parade, scan this photo with the Prindeo app.
Grand Marshal Joseph T. Matula Sr. rides down West Catawissa Street on Sunday during the Carbon County Veterans Day Parade. Matula, a lifelong Nesquehoning resident, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 and served in Vietnam.
Members of the Panther Valley High School marching band perform a patriotic medley during the Carbon County Veterans Day Parade on Sunday in Nesquehoning.