Memorial Day parade honors area veterans
By Brigid Beatty
Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
KITTANNING – Planners for the town's Memorial Day parade and ceremony hope the day's events serve to remind folks that Monday is a whole lot more than an extension of a holiday weekend.
“It's important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for us so this nation remains united and free,” said Richard Essenwein, Pennsylvania Department Commander of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.
Essenwein said he thinks some of the focus and purpose of Memorial Day has been lost since 1971 when the Uniform Holiday Bill went into affect shifting Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May, thereby creating an extended holiday weekend.
Victor Stivason, 60, is the Commander of AMVETS Post 13 in Kittanning, and recalled the town's Memorial Day parades when he was a kid.
But, he said, about 40 years ago the parades stopped.
Stivason, who is a retired Army veteran, said Post 13 was formed in 2006 by motorcycle riders like him who wanted to resurrect the town's Memorial Day parade.
Since then, he said, many people have stepped up and donated a lot of time and energy to help make the parade possible.
“This is crucial,” said Stivason, “because if people do not get behind it, it will die like it did before. As a veteran, I owe as much to other veterans as anyone else does.”
Stivason said it is still uncertain how many veterans will walk in the parade on Monday.
“Many of our veterans are disabled and can't walk that far,” he said, adding that veterans needing assistance can ride in the parade vehicles.
“We encourage all veterans to participate (in the day's events),” said planning committee member, Earl “Buzz” Kline, a Vietnam Army veteran who had been stationed at Cam Ranh Bay during the war.
Kline, who is also the borough fire marshal, said AMVETS Post 13 and the SUVCW, John T. Crawford Camp 43, are the main organizers of the parade and ceremony.
Members of the SUVCW will lead the parade — beginning at 10 a.m. at the corner of Vine and North McKean streets — with a horse-drawn caisson in honor of fallen Union soldiers.
Parade participants will include members of the Kittanning High School and Armstrong County Firemen's Band, the Mechling-Shakley Veterans Center, Post 13 motorcycle riders, members of the Armstrong County Horseman's Association, church groups and at least nine area volunteer fire departments, said Kline.
A ceremony is expected to begin after the parade at 11 a.m. at the John P. Murtha Amphitheater in the Riverfront Park.
The keynote speaker will be Grace Charney, a retired Air force lieutenant colonel and intelligence officer, said Kline.
Bonnie Waltenbaugh of Ford City, whose son died in service, will place a flower wreath at the podium in honor of servicemen and women who lost their lives by land and in the air. A second wreath will be placed in the river for those who died in uniform at sea.
Essenwein stressed the importance of spending at least one hour of one day out of the year to attend a ceremony, parade or memorial service to honor those in the military who died in service of their country.
“Find the time to pause and remember why you're there,” he said.
A memorial service will be held by members of Camp 43 and the Sarah A. Crawford Auxiliary at the Kittanning Cemetery prior to the parade at 9 a.m.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fish frying for Lent begins in Armstrong
- Armstrong Riverhawks sample band uniform displayed during school board meeting
- Ukrainian pen pal reaches out for Kittanning Kiwanis help
- Clarion company awarded bridge contract
- W. Kittanning website online again
- Woman dies in Kittanning house fire
- Ford City man waives prelim on charges lodged after fatal crash
- Manor Township pair charged with selling heroin
- West Hills students rewarded for fundraising effort
- Councilwoman seems to avoid ouster in W. Kittanning
- von Trapp bringing her sound of music to Ford City