Strong in Spirit, WWII Vets Salute Parade

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SCRANTON -- It was a salute to service on the streets and sidewalks of Scranton. Veterans, reservists, and other military members, along with families and supporters all took part in the Armed Forces Day Parade on Saturday.

Marching units, floats, and flags passed along the patriotism from generation to generation.

There were kids under nine dressed in red, white, and blue, along with 99-year-old World War II veteran Dan Lucas who took part in the Normandy Invasion.

"They forgot about us, World War II. When I tell them I was in the invasion at Omaha Beach, they think I was at Atlantic City. But it was no fun," he said.

Every where you could see the support for the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who took part in World War II. A group that is dwindling in number but strong in spirit.

Angel Lubeck, who is mother to a Marine said,"To get our pictures taken with the older gentleman who served our country and we shake their hands, that means a lot to me."

As the years go by generations of veterans find different ways to participate.
WWII veteran Martin Samolsky and his friends from Gino J. Mereli Veteran's Center serve as a self-appointed "reviewing committee" for the parade.

With a laugh, 87-year-old called the group "The Blue Berets."

About 4 years ago Samolsky realized that what the parade needed was someone to return the salutes of military members passing by.

"A private salutes a general, he returns the salute. We have to return any salute given us," Samolsky explained.

The men in their late 80's and 90's can remember attending parades as youngsters and seeing veterans of the Civil War.

Now it is their turn to be honored as elders.