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New Scranton Veterans Memorial Park raises military flags
Times-Tribune - 9/17/2018
Sept. 17--SCRANTON -- Veterans helped raise their respective military branch flags Sunday in honor of their brothers and sisters who lost their lives in wars past, marking the completion of phase one of the Scranton Veterans Memorial Park.
"We came home so those who died are never forgotten," said Jim Kuchwara, commander of VFW Post 25, the project's fiscal sponsor.
First the Army flag was raised at the park under a hot sun, followed by the Marine Corps flag, then Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Family members whose loved ones never returned from war raised the black Prisoner of War/MIA flag as the last act of the ceremony.
The military flags at the park outside the Scranton School District's Valor Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium encircle the U.S. flag, a donation from students at John F. Kennedy Elementary School.
In April, the project broke ground at Providence Road and Mike Munchak Way. Now the group, chaired by Pat Ahern, a Marine Corps veteran, will move into phase two -- creating a granite monument inscribed with "Those Who Gave Their All, Forever Remembered," and listing the names of every Scranton service member killed in action from every branch of the armed forces.
"We have an obligation to remember our local veterans in name," said Ahern. "We need to hear the stories of these men and women."
The group is continuing to raise funds for the 7-foot-tall monument that will stand where the speakers' podium was placed Sunday.
Midway through the well-attended ceremony, state Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald, announced the state will help make phase two a reality: The committee will receive an $80,000 state grant toward the anticipated $475,000 project, he said.
The park's location outside Scranton High also fulfills a promise to be an outside classroom, said Scranton School District Superintendent Alexis Kirijan, Ed.D.
She hopes the park will help students learn that they enjoy their freedoms today because of the men and women memorialized there.
To donate to the second phase of the project, send a check to Scranton Veterans Memorial Park, c/o Theodore J. Wint VFW Post 25, 2291 Rockwell Ave., Scranton, PA 18508.
The committee will also host the All Veterans Honor Run on Sunday, Oct. 21. Proceeds from the 5-kilometer race and 2-mile fun walk will support construction of the veterans monument. To register, visit www.runsignup.com.
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