I did many of the traditional things this Memorial Day weekend, taking advantage of the parades and ceremonies available locally. The VND on Saturday carried a story about the difficulty many communities are having in organizing events for Memorial Day. I would not have drawn that conclusion from what I saw happening in Tarentum and Lower Burrell. It is obvious that organizing these events takes a lot of work, but the local veterans groups put them together well.
The Brackenridge-Tarentum parade was organized by two veterans groups, the American Legion Post 226 in Brackenridge and the Tarentum Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5758. The parade started in Brackenridge and ended in Tarentum at Riverview Park. where the two groups conducted a ceremony.
The Allegheny County Police Department was present with horses to lead the parade.
And flags headed the parade.
Among the veterans who appeared in the parade were a Peral Harbor survivor and this veteran of the Iraq war.
The Highlands Varsity Marching Band was there.
Herbert Pfeil, a WWII veteran was also in the parade.
Many local fire departments were represented in the parade: the Brackenridge Fire Department's Pioneer Hose Company, Tarentum Fire Department's Highland Hose Company, Eureka Fire and Rescue, and Summit Hose Company, Fawn Township V.F.D., Frazer F.D., and the Hilltop Hose Company from Natrona Heights.
Following the parade, Dan Wolfe of the Tarentum VFW post was the master of ceremonies for the Memorial Day Service.
Tarentum Borough Council President Carl Magnetta spoke about why Memorial Day was his favorite holiday.
The keynote speaker was Greg Malnick, a representative of Congressman Jason Altmire. Mr. Malnick, a veteran, reminded us that his own identity was not important on a day when we remember those who gave their lives.
There were a number of ceremonies involving the placing of flowers and wreaths. One of the moving parts of the service was a reading of the names of 46 members of the two sponsoring groups who had died since Memorial Day 2006.
In the many remarks that were made the speakers asked us to remember that the conflict in Iraq was still going on and that soldiers were still giving their lives. There was a unanimous desire to support the troops even as some of the speakers acknowledged their own disagreement with the decision to go to war in Iraq.