MILLERTON, PA. (WETM) – For the first time since 2019, there was a day of remembrance in Millerton at the annual Memorial Day Parade. The small Pennsylvania town gathered together to celebrate and recognize the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s been a very tough year, but to see for this entire crowd in this community out here for our parade is incredible. It got cancelled last year because of the Coronavirus,” Ryan Belz, parade co-chair, said. “It’s awesome to be able to have everyone back out here.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many traditions to a halt in 2020. Memorial Day 2021 marks one of the first holidays where experts do not expect a surge in cases. This comes as more Americans get vaccinated, pushing toward herd immunity.
“It’s great to see us taking a step forward. People have been cooped up for quite a while. People want to get out and build those relationships. We are meant to live in community, ” Rep. Clint Owlett said.
The parade drew familiar faces from near and far. More than 70 floats, cars, horses, and more made their way down Main Street to Houser Park, where there was a ceremony to honor local veterans. Six heroes from the area received new quilts from The Quilts of Valor Foundation. George Stone, Harland Evans, Ward Friends, Leo Parchesky, Walter Barnes, and Bob Appleby were honored today.
While many were excited to be out in the community, together after a long year, the meaning of the day was not lost.
“It is the land of the free home of the brave. It is great to see everybody coming out today for them,” Rep. Owlett added.
Local veterans reminded everyone the day was not about them, rather it was about those we have lost in the line of duty.
“We’re the survivors, but the ones who did not make it back are the ones we are memorializing today,” Combat Engineer Ronald Hoyt of the U.S. Army continued.
“A lot of people think Memorial Day is for all veterans and it’s not. We don’t want to be recognized on those days we want to make sure we honor those who have given their lives in defense of our freedom,” Technical Sergeant Heidi Butler of the U.S. Air Force said.
Parade organizers are thrilled with the turnout and are proud of the entire community.
“Thank you for coming out and showing our community that we are Millerton strong,” Belz added.
“I’ve been to a lot of parades in the area, but Millerton’s truly is amazing. I’m really proud to be Millerton,” TSgt. Butler concluded.