TROY — The American Flag flew high over Mt. Pisgah State Park Saturday as area veterans gathered and community members, school groups and local government officials paid honor to their service in the annual Patriots in the Park event.
The Penn York Highlanders Band entertained the crowd in the morning, before a flag ceremony kicked off the service, which featured Command Sergeant Major US Army Retired Darryl Jannone, of Canton.
Jannone thanked the many veterans in attendance as well as their families, stating that they are “ordinary people doing ordinary things but in an extraordinary way.”
The Sergeant Major went on the call every American to remember veterans daily, stating that it maintains patriotism and the nation’s “time honored traditions.”
“We remain rooted as a nation thanks to people like you,” he said, addressing the crowd of former American warriors. “We should honor you everyday because you are the true heroes, it’s not the multi-million dollar crybaby catching a football, it’s you. You secured our nation’s freedom...the total debt to you, our veteran’s and their amazing families, will never, ever be paid in money because frankly, there’s not enough. It can only be paid in pride and in respect.”
Jannone recognized the veterans for laying a foundation for American troops currently overseas, one richly rooted in values and traditions.
“Times have changed,” Jannone commented.”The one thing that hasn’t — the quality of our soldiers, our sailors, our Marines, our airmen and our coasties and that’s due to you. You, our veterans, that blazed the path for the next generation.”
Jannone also highlighted the importance of gratitude towards military spouses and families, explaining that while military members are trained for duty, families are required to learn “on the fly, in real time” and keep the country running as servicemen deploy overseas.
Recalling the recent 18th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Jannone petitioned young generations to utilize their smarts and technological savvy to continue to develop the nation’s military and commended them for their bravery in enlisting during wartime.
“Let’s not forget, we are a nation at war. It’s not gas prices, it’s not what you hear in the news, we remain a nation at war and those priorities are well rooted within this crew,” he said.
Jannone noted that while it’s easy to become aggravated with the current “state of affairs” within the country, he holds in high regard those who fight for the Land of the Free.
“I don’t care about parties and politics,” he stated, “but what does bring me great pride is that there will always be men and women just like the ones sitting in front of you here today, true Americans that will stand up, not kneel, and place the mission first. They’ll get the job done every time, in every way, without fail.”
Jannone concluded by sharing an experience he had with a seventh grader during Canton’s September 11 memorial ceremony when the student asked how he could honor veterans even though he wasn’t born when the terror attacks occurred.
The Sergeant Major shared that he told the boy that as a student his job was simply to excel to the best of his ability in school and in any extracurricular activities he may choose to participate in.
“There’s only one way to thank a veteran, and that’s simply by making it (their lives) matter,” he said.
Four veterans were presented with Quilts of Valor following Jannone’s presentation, including Joseph Kozak, Clyde Seeley, Robert Smith and Vernon Perry.
All four celebrated veterans were also awarded medals by State Representative Tina Pickett (R-110) and Clint Owlett (R-68).
Bradford County Commissioners, a local scout troop, the Troy Chamber Choir and Bradford County Dairy Princess McKenzie Slater, as well as representatives from Troy’s National Honor Society and Cross Country team assisted with Patriots in the Park.