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Honoring veterans in Wayne, Pike Counties

Veterans Day looks a little different in Wayne and Pike Counties for people honoring those who served our country.

WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. — For the last decade, the people who operate the Settlers Hospitality Group in Hawley have opened their doors to veterans on this day each year for a complimentary stay at one of their five hotels in the area. But this Veterans Day is a little different than others.

"We wish we could be doing our full program where we usually have speakers and photography exhibits from different conflicts, but 2020 just doesn't really allow for that," said CEO Justin Genzlinger.

Genzlinger says the rooms fill up every year. Many veterans who take advantage of the hospitality have made it a tradition.

"You end up with some very good conversation, and people meet each other. This year won't be as much mingling and that type of thing, but we have people who come back that met each other here at other years, and then they come as a group, and they look forward to coming back each year."

Many school districts in our area, including Wallenpaupack Area, host Veterans Day programs to observe this day, but those also had to be adjusted because of the pandemic.

This year's program was done in the form of a video put on the district's website. Students made flags, sang patriotic songs, and some area vets sent messages of what their service meant to them.

"I walked through the building, and it was playing and all, you know in the classrooms, and I could hear them clapping at certain parts, and so we tried to simulate that," said Wallenpaupack North Intermediate Principal Amanda Cykosky.

"It was so wonderful to have so many kiddos participating, and that volunteered to sing, and then we had, I think most of the kiddos did their artwork and had many kiddos submit essays," said Loriann Kerber, a teacher at Wallenpaupack North Intermediate.

The school worked out a plan to send those essays to area veterans who couldn't participate in person.

"We're going to take the other letters, and we're going to mail them to veterans in our community as a way of celebrating and honoring and remembering them and all that they have done for us in our country," added teacher Jana Kilduff.