By Sarah Scinto, Wilkes-Barre Citzens’ Voice
WILKES-BARRE — Sgt. 1st Class Eric Darling thinks of Luzerne County as a “great place” to be a member of the United States military.
Waiting near a bandstand at the end of the Veterans Day parade route on Sunday, Darling said he saw his thoughts confirmed by the crowd that gathered on Public Square and on sidewalks leading back to Kingston, where the parade began that afternoon.
“That sense of history and patriotism has being going on a long time. I’m very appreciative of it,” he said. “A lot of places you don’t see it anymore.”
The 70th annual Wyoming Valley Veterans Day Parade wound from Kingston to downtown Wilkes-Barre on Sunday afternoon, drawing crowds of onlookers sporting their red, white and blue or waving American flags along the parade route.
Erin Herman of Dallas waited to see her two sons and her husband walking in the parade with Cub Scouts Pack 281. She said she talked with her boys about the parade’s purpose before they got in line to walk.
“The people that have served and fought war for us,” she said. “The reason we’re here today is because they fought for our freedom.”
The parade started in Kingston, traveled across the Market Street Bridge into Wilkes-Barre, then made its way along Northampton Street and onto Main Street around Public Square.
Jeannette Elms of Wilkes-Barre waved a homemade “Thank You” poster as lines of uniformed soldiers passed just before Public Square.
“I’m just really grateful,” she said. “I love America, I love the United States, I’m just so grateful to these people. I just feel so humble, it’s an honor to be here. If I can stand here for a couple hours just to show my gratitude, it’s all worth it.”
After completing the parade route, Albert Rowles, Luzerne County district commander for the American Legion, said he could feel the crowd’s support for local veterans.
“This is my 18th parade,” he said. “It feels good.”