Alle-Kiski Valley parades with pride on Memorial Day
It only took one time for Shirley Ross to hear the Arnold Fireman's Band perform in the Memorial Day parade before she made watching it an annual tradition.
“She said it reminded her of old times,” said her daughter Barbara Ross, 57. “It brought back memories for her.”
So for the sixth consecutive year, Ross, 85, and her daughter, both of Lower Burrell, staked out a piece of shade on Sixth Street Monday to watch the annual parade that features fire departments, police, the local Army Reserve Unit, Boy and Girl Scout troops and, of course, marching bands.
There were about a dozen parades across the Alle-Kiski Valley to mark the holiday and honor military veterans. The sunshine and warm weather made the traditional summer kickoff a great one, parade watchers said. They came out for the fun and camaraderie and to recognize the sacrifice military service members have made.
“I like to honor the policemen and servicemen,” said Margaret Dzierski, of Arnold. “And it doesn't take much to walk down to see the parade.”
Members of Boy Scout Troop 390 said they enjoyed decorating their red, white and blue float for the Arnold/New Kensington parade.
“It's nice having our own special kind of float,” said Christian Litterio, 10, of Lower Burrell.
“I like going through and seeing everybody happy,” said Aiden Ziccarelli, 10, of New Kensington.
In Lower Burrell, hundreds of people lined the parade route on Leechburg Road.
Most people said watching the parade is as much a family tradition as a cookout.
“It's just nice getting together with family and having a special time to get together,” said Tony Muto, 35, of Arnold, who watched the parade from his aunt's Leechburg Road home with his young nephews. “It's the kickoff to our Memorial Day.”
Carol Beale also has a special vantage point to watch the Lower Burrell parade — her home on Schreiber Road, where she and her husband, Bob, have lived for 30 years. She invites friends and family over for the holiday.
Allison Derry, 6, of Parks, came over with her grandma, Beale's close friend. She said she likes getting candy and watching the different vehicles drive by.
“I like the monster truck with the eagle on the side,” she said.
Among those in the parade were members of American Legion Post 868 in Lower Burrell. Many of them have been participating since returning from service in Vietnam.
“This is a day when we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Tom Rushnock, a Vietnam vet who served in the 633rd Security Police Squadron. “And we can't forget those who are POW/MIA and getting the United States to get them back home.”
Among the parade floats was a truck carrying a cage made of wooden slats, with a pair of boots and the POW/MIA flag inside.
Gino Texter, 8, of Shaler, who was watching with Muto, his uncle, said one of his favorite parts of the parade is the military vehicles.
“I like them because my cousin is in the Army,” he said.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.