Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Over the last three or four years I've worked most of the Memorial Day covering the various ceremonies around the northern part of Cambria County, Pennsylvania for the Star Courier. So, this year I decided to stay home and spend the whole morning covering the activities just here in Hastings. As it turned out, I went to Patton anyhow to deliver a picture and wound up spending time shooting their parade again this year. Of course then I headed back to Hastings for our Memorial Day celebrations.

Patton, PA Memorial Day Parade

The Patton parade always starts with the fire department in the lead. This year was no exception.

Baton twillers from Cambria Heights High School were next in line.

Cambria Heights High School Band.

Patton Boy Scout Troop 95.

I don't know why but I think this is probably one of the best shots of any of the parades that I shoot. Maybe it's because of the two officers walking out front that adds something to it.

Honor Guard at parade rest.

The next group of portraits stand for themselves.

After leaving the parade in Patton, I headed back to Hastings. Unfortunately, since I work as a photographer, I'm no longer able to march with my brother veterans from our local VFW Post. I hope I do them honor by sharing this day and our way of life with the visitors to our blog.

Hastings, PA Memorial Day Parade

In Hastings, the veterans and residents start to gather in front of the VFW Post well before it's time to form up for the parade. It's not just about the parade itself. This is one of the first town-wide social events since the spring thaw.

Hastings has the longest parade route in the area, round trip is probably close to a mile. Many of the veterans were able to participate by riding on a trailer.

Brothers in arms, father and son-in-law.

A Mother Hen and Her Chicks.

Sgt. Glavach, HPD

People socializing in the shade near the community park before the start of the parade.

Forming up.

Patrick D. Riordan Post 1586 Drum Corps.

Many folks gather in the cemetery so they can witness the memorial service, experience the 21 gun salute and and hear taps played.

After walking through town, the parade enters St. Bernard's Cemetery, the largest of three cemeteries near Hastings. Many of the townspeople visit the graves of their relatives, and this is their view of the parade.

Marine Lance Corporal Teara (Shilling) McCulley, formerly of Hastings, now stationed at Camp Lejuene, NC.

VFW Post Commander reads the names of veterans who died since Memorial Day 2008 while the veterans in attendance salute their fallen comrades.

Looking over the gathered veterans toward town.

It's a tradition that taps is played by someone close to the ceremony location and then by someone farther away so it sounds like an echo. Very moving!

Memorial Day weekend is also the kick-off for the local youth ball teams. The youngsters walk in the parade and at the end they receive a drink and a snack.

Brian S. and his daughter stand well out of the way of the maddening crowd.

After the parade gets back to the VFW, there is a short break. Then the
Veterans regroup at the Veterans Memorial to hold a short service.

Ministers from the three local churches, representing the Catholic and Protestant faiths, offered prayers during the service.

Peg Rogal of the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW places a carnation at the Memorial.

21-gun salute (done in three volleys of 7 rifles) at the Town Memorial.

Marine Husband and Wife
Lance Corporals Derek and Teara (Shilling) McCulley
Derek is from nearby Westover, PA ; Teara is from Hastings, PA.
They are stationed together at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejuene, NC. Derek is a veteran of the Iraq War.

Local Veterans enjoy a meal at the VFW after the parade.

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