WHITE HAVEN, Pa. — Rain couldn't dampen the spirits of those who gathered at Lehigh Park in White Haven for the borough's first post-Covid event - the return of the Memorial Day ceremony.
There was no parade this year, but a convoy of Jeeps kicked off the event.
"The ones who came out are very great. Again, we had a line. We had 18 Jeeps coming through town in a parade with lights and horns, and it was beautiful. It had everyone's attention. Let everyone know we're out of this Covid thing," said John Kearns, retired U.S. Coast Guard member.
"We'd prefer to have a parade through town, but restrictions prevented us from doing so. We got together with a bunch of other veterans organizations and decided to have a gathering here and still go through the Memorial Day ceremony," said Tim Janosco, with the White Haven Marine Corps League.
Organizers read the Gettysburg Address, and an Air Force band played for the crowd.
After a year of distancing, borough residents say it felt good to gather for this reason.
"It means a lot, and it shows how the community, rain or shine, just like our veterans, just like our active duty, they do not stop whether it's raining, snowing, sleeting, hailing, we want to honor them by doing the same," said Linda Miller with the Greater White Haven Chamber of Commerce.
White Haven's Memorial Day tradition is still pretty new. It had only been going on for three years before Covid sidelined it in 2020.
Organizers say it was important to bring it back now, even if it was scaled back, so that the community remembers what Memorial Day is all about.
"Through this, we're helping to educate and show people what Memorial Day is really about," said Kearns.