Hundreds of people lined the parade route in downtown Honesdale Monday.



Hundreds of people lined the parade route in downtown Honesdale Monday.

Eyes shielded from the sun with mirrored shades, John LaDue said he seldom misses attending a Memorial Day parade or ceremony. It’s for the friends who never made it home.

A Vietnam veteran, LaDue served in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division.
They lost 9 or 10 men out of his flight school class and another 9 or 10 in Vietnam.

“Vietnam veterans are starting to die off now, quite a few of them,” he said.

LaDue comes from a military family. His dad, the late Jack LaDue and uncle, Carl Earles were both three-war veterans, each serving in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Both are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Just down the street, Marilyn Schlosser and grandson Matteo Lopez of Waymart, waved American Flags, waiting for the parade to begin.
It was an opportunity to “honor the soldiers who fought for our country and our freedom,” Schlosser said.

Along with fire trucks, business floats, and marching bands stepping in perfect time to patriotic tunes, there were veterans groups walking the route, carrying flags and the memories of fallen comrades.

Thousands of men and women have left their blood on the alter of freedom.

Among the military dignitaries to speak at this year’s Central Park ceremony, Jack Bishop of the Disabled American Veterans shared the startling number of lives lost to war.

Civil War - 600,000+; WWI - 116,000+; WWII - 400,000; Korea - 53,000; Vietnam - 58,000; Gulf War 258; Iraq - 4,000+ and counting, Afghanistan 1,500 + and counting.

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who never made it home.

“A lot of people forget, they think it’s a day off. They think it’s the beginning of summer, let’s have picnics. But this is really what it’s really about (remembering the fallen),” Bishop said.

“If we could all just spend a minute of prayer for our soldiers that never came back home, that would make the day.”