Patriotic pandemic performance for vets by window side

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many Memorial Day activities that would’ve happened any other year were postponed Monday because of the pandemic.

But some went on, even though they required a change, including an event at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center. We’ve seen DJs during this pandemic play music outside of facilities where seniors live to entertain them during this pandemic. But Monday, it was actually a live band that performed outside the VA for vets who live inside the facility.

Memorial Day musical performances at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center typically strike a patriotic chord. But this year, the performance was a little different. Due to the coronavirus crisis, musicians couldn’t come inside the facility. Instead, the event organizer brought the healing gift of music to veterans who listened from their windows.

“The music is what allows them to go back in time and to remember the fallen comrades and remember where they were,” Navy vet and District 12 Canteen Fund Representative Nicole Guest said.

The band, Franklin House, performed mostly 1960s and 1970s songs outside three separate sections of the VA – the nursing home area known as the Community Living Center, the dementia unit called Heroes Haven and the hospice unit named No Soldier Dies Alone.

“We can’t go in and talk, but if we play they’re still going to hear, they’re going to enjoy it and we can communicate in other ways,” musician Carl Charles Krupa said.

Vets waved and waved flags as they listened to the music, reliving memories and making new ones.

When asked what he liked about it, U.S. Navy veteran Ronald Sallard replied “Everything. They’re good. That’s all. They’re awesome!”

It’s the first time Franklin House performed for vets on a day we pause to remember veterans who gave all.

“It’s just a way that I can give back and they gave in a way that is, you know, beyond anything,” Krupa said.

The event organizer is already scheduling performances for Father’s Day and the Fourth of July at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center.

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