PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center hosted a solemn remembrance ceremony Thursday to pay tribute to our fallen veterans.

The respectful observance aims to bring encouragement and comfort to all family and friends who have been affected by their loss.

A crowd gathered under the pavilion at the wilkes-barre medical center in Plains Township. Veterans, families, and staff honored the brave men and women who passed away fighting for our freedom.

“This is an opportunity for the families to come together, and we join them in their grief, their season of grief. And let them know that we are here to support them, and they can turn to us whenever they feel the need to,” said Khoa Nguyen, Chief Chaplain at Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center.

It’s the first time the ceremony has occurred in person since 2019. During the pandemic, it was held virtually.

“We have been planning this for a whole entire year. We are so excited for this opportunity to show our families that their loved ones, our veterans, will never be forgotten,” Nguyen continued.

The emotional event featured music, speeches, and moving testimonies. Vietnam Veteran Gary Shields came to remember a loved one who passed away in December.

“I think it’s wonderful that they’re acknowledging the past vets, the veterans gone before us,” Shields said.

While this is a step in the right direction, Shields says more needs to be done to honor our veterans.

“All these guys went in the service to fight for our country, our freedoms and they should be remembered. Not just now but always,” Shields added.

Our state is home to the fourth largest population of veterans in the country.