WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- Members of the military, both retired and active, were treated to a special night of holiday shopping and a dinner at the Wyoming Valley Mall.
It was a way for the mall to say thank you to those who serve, perfectly timed for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
As a barber shop quartet got the room in the holiday spirit, members of the military, both active and retired, and their families got the royal treatment inside a private dining room at the Royal House Buffet on Wednesday.
This event was hosted by the Wyoming Valley Mall, which was offering these military families discounted shopping at two dozen stores inside the mall as a way to say thank you for their service.
It's the first time the mall has done this for military families during the holiday season.
“This is actually one of the greatest things to do for the area. I'm always looking for stuff that they're doing for veterans as well as active-duty soldiers and there isn't a lot,” said Robert Guard, a retired Army soldier from Wilkes-Barre. “So when people do stuff like this it really warms your heart, especially for the holiday season.”
“I think it's a wonderful thing that the mall has gotten together and is honoring those who have served and those who are currently serving. It's really nice for the community to get together,” said Holly McBroom from Dallas, whose father is retired military.
Before folks got shopping, they had a hot, free meal, some wine tasting and a chance to win prizes.
Then it was off to the mall with a VIP tote bag to shop at those 24 vendors.
“This is great. Our friends are here. They told us all about it,” said Ken Morris, retired Army member from Dallas. “But it's nice to show that people do care what we did for them, you know?”
“This is so wonderful. I hope that they do more things like this because we really need not to forget our men and women who served,” said Patti, Ken’s wife.
And speaking of not forgetting, Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
While the mall says it did not intentionally plan to host the event on this day, it is fitting that it worked out this way, saying this is a great way to honor and remember December 7th.
“Well, you know if you're going to have a military benefit where you tip your hats to the military, today's a very special day to do so,” said Joseph Ohrin, marking director for the Wyoming Valley Mall.
The mall says the first-time event was a success and is considered hosting it again next year for the holidays.