SCRANTON — In Scranton, it was all about honoring tradition for a group that gathers every Independence Day. The event has been going on for decades, but has some traditions that date back more than a century.
Every July 4th since he came home from Korea, Michael Remetta of South Abington Township dons his military medals and makes his way to Nay Aug Park in Scranton.
While the band played his mind went back to his friends from 60 years ago when he was a medic in the Korean War.
“I’m thinking about all the fellows I left behind, that passed away, that I patched up,” Remetta said.
The annual program at Nay Aug Park put on by the city is meant to honor veterans and our founding fathers, a sentiment that some think is lost nowadays.
Remetta’s wife Norma and her friend Rita Sack make sure to come every 4th of July in hopes that their tradition is passed down to the next generation.
“It’s very patriotic, and they put a lot of work into it. It’s sad to see that there are fewer and fewer people all the time,” Rita Sack said.
“I think it’s necessary, really, for a day like today. You know, to do what you have to do, to have this service, it’s really beautiful,” added Norma Remetta.
The music at the program is a long standing tradition too, the band that played was formed back in 1876 when America was just 100 years old. The founder’s granddaughter makes it a point to come and watch them every 4th of July.
Shirley Chase-Cook of Scranton said her grandfather John Chase formed the Ringgold Pops Orchestra more than 130 years ago and they’ve been playing patriotic songs on Independence Day ever since.
“It’s a good feeling to have all these affairs to remember those who have gone before us, and the ones that have made such a great country that we have today,” Shirley said.
While the program goes on, Shirley listens and thinks about those who came before her. Her family who started the music, and this Independence Day tradition, so many years ago.
“They’re looking down on us today for sure,” she said.