Veterans Day parade set for Sunday, will mark WWI armistice

Patrick Kernan Times Leader news and uploaded by Kimberly Smith

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WILKES-BARRE — Veterans Day is always a solemn holiday when Americans celebrate the sacrifices of those who defend our freedoms.

The day will carry added meaning this year as it marks the 100th anniversary of fighting in World War I, but our region’s annual parade will be adding something, too.

Sunday’s Wyoming Valley Veterans Day Parade, set to kick off from Kingston Corners at 2 p.m., will feature a new tradition: An “Outstanding Veteran Award,” according to parade committee member Master Sgt. John Paul Karpovich.

The winner of the award will be announced before Sunday’s parade and was selected based on their overall impact on the local community said Karpovich, who serves with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

A century ago on Sunday — Nov. 11, 1918 — an armistice was signed ending hostilities in the First World War. Commemoration of that landmark date has evolved into Veterans Day as we now know it.

The award winner will be riding in a vehicle at the front of the parade with the winners of a local school essay contest in which students explained the importance of remembering the conflict, which was then called “the war to end all wars.”

Karpovich, a Hunlock Creek resident who is stationed at Fort Indiantown Gap, is looking forward to participating on Sunday, as duty has kept him from attending during the past two years, ending a 20-year personal streak.

He knows many other veterans hate missing the annual ceremony, too.

“A lot of veterans are getting older, and they may not be able to walk in the parade, but they’re looking forward to riding in the parade, being part of it and seeing that the community cares about them,” Karpovich said.

The route will depart Kingston Corners and head east on Market Street, cross the Susquehanna River and end at Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.

This year’s grand marshal will be Retired Col. Charles F. Luce, an Army veteran whose service spanned from Vietnam to Operation Enduring Justice at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Luce, a resident of Bear Creek Township, also is a past president of the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board.

Those interested in volunteering with the committee can learn more on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Wyoming-Valley-Veterans-Day-Parade-120393864650165/.

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IF YOU GO

What: Wyoming Valley Veterans Day Parade

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Along Market Street from Kingston Corners to Public Square