CHESTERTOWN - A float in the area Memorial Day parade carried a group of Girl Scouts surrounded by signs paying tribute to the local soldiers now serving in the military.
Several placards named all the solders now on duty, accompanied by another that read, "These are our true American Idols."
Hundreds of area townsfolk lined up on the sidewalks on Main St. watching the annual pageantry - seeing their friends and family members march, including members of the fire companies of Chestertown, Horicon and Pottersville, the North Warren Emergency Squad responders, or various scouters or members of veterans organizations.
The parade began at LaFlure Lane and ended at the Chester Municipal Center, where American Legion Post 964 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5513 presided over ceremonies.
The members of the North Warren High School Marching Band provided upbeat, patriotic music for the procession, which occurred under clear skies and modest temperatures.
The marchers and spectators proceeded to the Chester Municipal Center for the somber remembrances of not only those who fought in past wars, but those now serving to protect the freedoms many back home take for granted.
"It is nice to see our communities come out to honor all our soldiers, past and present," said Joe Slattery, 3rd Vice commander of the VFW said:
American Legion official Joanne Ellsworth lead a group in special readings honoring both local veterans, and those now serving.
Mary Miller, mother of U.S. Marine Cpl. Robert Miller, read a list of soldiers now on active duty: Ken Bamberger Jr. Kristen Bamberger, Ashley GH Taylor, and Nolan Wemett in the U.S. Air Force; Thomas Bolton, Cody Frasier, Matt Frasier, Robert Hill, Ian McDonald, Adam Morehouse, Lucas Morehouse, Jeremiah Monroe, Robert Monroe Jr., Michael Ross III, Thomas Sears, Raymond Stevens, and Robert Stevens in the U.S. Army; Andy Jefford, Josh Holcomb, Robert Miller, Robert "BJ" Monroe, and Thomas Orluck in the U.S. Marine Corps; Michele Dygert, Roy Mihill, Samantha Vestal and Logan Wemett in the U.S. Navy; Jeremy Gagnon in the U.S. Coast Guard; and former Marine Stephen Emlaw Jr., now on duty in the U.S. Army National Guard.
Special coins commemorating the soldiers were given to the parents of those now serving.
Ellsworth announced prizes for best float in the parade. In first place was North Warren Girl Scout Troop No. 3192, which bore the names of the soldiers and signs that reflected the sentiment of the crowd, like "Our Troops - Our Heroes," and "Freedom is Not Free."
In second place was the float created by North Warren students involved in the Interact Club/Students Against Destructive Decisions.
The morning began with a breakfast hosted by Boy Scout Troop No. 30, at the Methodist Church on Brick Street. Scout Master John Belline said they served about 65 meals and it was a "good turnout."
A wreath was placed at the Prisoner of War monument in front of the Municipal center and the ceremony concluded with veterans discharging their firearms in a 21-gun salute.