SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Communities all across Northeastern Pennsylvania hosted Memorial Day observance ceremonies on Monday, as the nation pauses to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in the name of freedom.

A crowd of red, white, and blue gathered at Veterans Memorial Park in Scranton Monday afternoon.

It’s where the city and VFW Post 25 hosted their Memorial Day Observance Ceremony, honoring the fallen.

“Either missing in action, or passed away during conflicts, or after conflicts. They served us well, and we like to remember them for what they’ve done,” said VFW Post 25 Commander Joseph Price.

The ceremony has been a tradition for decades and this year, VFW Post 25 paid a special tribute to Marine Corps Veteran and Former Post Commander James Kuchwara, who passed away in March.

“That brings a tear to my eye, but it’s for all the vets, and hopefully this will help their families with their grief,” Commander Price explained.

The emotional event featured music and moving testimonies.

“We pay tribute today to those who gave, as Lincoln said, the last full measure of devotion to their country,” said Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey.

“Groups like the VFW, Marine Corps League, American Legion, without those groups we wouldn’t have this type of infrastructure, we wouldn’t have these beautiful memorials, we wouldn’t have a place to gather on Memorial Day, we wouldn’t have a way to instill in our children what it means to fight and die for your country,” Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti said.

“It’s very special, everyone put their fair share in. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have what we have today,” said Allen Hess of the Boy Scouts of America Troop.

The Veterans Memorial Park Association plans to plant a tree in honor of Former Commander James Kuchwara in the fall.