Several local communities commemorated Memorial Day with parades and solemn ceremonies.
In Aston Township, due to the threat of rain, American Legion Post #926 cancelled its annual parade, however, the post had an indoor, well-attended ceremony to honor people who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms Americans enjoy.
Master of Ceremonies and Post Commander Don Jenkins was followed by Bob Sexton, who explained the significance of the POW empty seat ceremony.
Post #926 Ladies Auxiliary member Maryann Carpellini introduced poppy queens Cara DePaolantonio and Kayla Riley who laid a patriotic wreath.
The St. James High School Alumni Choir performed several patriotic hymns including “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “God Bless America,” as well as anthems that represent all branches of the armed forces.
Sons of the American Legion Chaplain Shane Jenkins read a poem that “Memorial Day is a day of remembrance,” and state Rep. Leanne Kruger-Braneky (D-161), expressed appreciation to the Post for its community service.
Kruger-Braneky said enjoying picnics and other Memorial Day festivities is fine, but people must never forget the meaning behind the holiday.
“Remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” she said. “Today is meant to be a solemn time and we should not lose sight of the heroes who did not return.”
Aston Commissioners Vice President Mike Higgins, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, quoted presidents Ronald Reagan and John. F. Kennedy, and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who served 30 years on the court.
“Today we remember the courage of all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” Higgins said.
Guest speaker, former Upland Post commander and lifetime #926 member, Bob Watson, spoke of the importance of maintaining American values.
In the second ward, monuments at New and Mount Roads were where a ceremony and wreath laying took place.
Post #6613 Commander James Murphy was master of ceremonies and poppy queens Addison Quaile and Miaya Jackson distributed poppies throughout the ceremony.
The Penncrest High School Marching Band took part in the ceremony and wreaths were laid at both sites.
St. Francis de Sales students Carrie Sappington and Grace Stefankiewicz read their award winning essays on “What America Means to Me,” and Pastor Fr. Alan Okon provided the benediction.
In Brookhaven, more than 200 veterans, residents, and officials attended its Memorial Day ceremony at Memorial Island.
Hosted by Brookhaven American Legion Post 94, the morning program was opened by Pastor Ben Granier, of the Full Gospel Assembly, followed by the National Anthem by former Penn-Delco music teacher Lynn Stauffer.
Councilwoman and U.S. Navy veteran Denise Leslie led the Pledge of Allegiance and Post Commander Harry Seth was master of ceremonies.
The St. James High School Alumni Choir performed “God bless America,” and Brookhaven Mayor Mike Hess asked everyone there to remember the fallen.
“They gave their lives for our country, their fellow servicemen, their wives, parents and children,” Hess said.
Kruger-Braneky, also attended that event and spoke. A special presentation was made to Jules Kaminski, who left his Chester home at age 16 to join the Air Force. He trained to be a radio operator on a B-17 and was later selected to participate in a series of classified tests to see how the human body reacted to extreme conditions of hot and cold environments so that adjustments could be made to military clothing and equipment to protect soldiers, sailors and airmen. Kaminski was awarded the World War II Victory Medal and was honorably discharged in February 1949. Kaminski will celebrate his 88th birthday in July.
Media Mayor Bob McMahon said this is the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day.
Brookhaven Girl Scout Sophia Coleman read, “In Flanders Fields” and wreaths were laid at the memorials by the Boy Scouts. “Taps” was played by Stauffer with a rifle salute by Sun Valley JR-ROTC. All attendees were invited for refreshments at the municipal center.
In Marcus Hook, residents lined the streets to see the borough’s acclaimed Memorial Day parade, which included floats, bands, antique cars, string bands, Uncle Sam, scout troops, emergency apparatus and veterans.
“We come here every year,” said Rhonda Henderson. “I think this is the best parade in the county. My children love seeing the veterans and it is important that we honor their sacrifices.”
Photos by Loretta Rodgers