What Memorial Day means to local veterans

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PECKVILLE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Do you know the reason for Memorial Day? Eyewitness News asked veterans at the Shopa Davey VFW Post #6082 what is the meaning of the holiday.

“What comes to mind is freedom, and the veterans that came before us, who made the supreme and ultimate sacrifice,” said Peter Puhalla, Sr., Commander, Shopa Davey VFW post #6082.

“They can’t confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day and Armed Forces Day. They’re three separate days for a reason. One we honor the dead, one we honor all the services and one we honor the people that survived the service,” said Jim Shimo, a navy veteran in Desert Storm.

Every corner of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania has seen its share of sorrow from lives lost through the generations.

“My uncle Frank A. Puhalla, was a member of the 82nd Airborne, and he was killed in action in the north Africa campaign,” Puhalla Sr. said. “Freedom. Freedom in this country, because there is no other freedom in the world like we have in this country. And when I’m traveling through cemeteries, if I see a tattered flag, I’ll replace those flags.”

“19-20 years old. Went to war, never raised a family, never had kids, never had an actual career. But they died for this country. And people have to recognize that and remember that,” Shimo said.

When you go for a walk or run, maybe play a game of catch, these veterans hope you’ll pause to remember the reason we enjoy our freedom.

“People don’t want to remember bad times in this country, they only want to remember the good times. Which is ok, but you still have to remember what these guys died for. We wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for them,” said Shimo.

“We never forget,” Puhalla said.

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