Parades, speeches mark Veterans Day in Pa.



A spectator looks at a program during the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lawrenceville on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kent D. Johnson)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvanians marked Veterans Day on Monday with parades, wreath-laying ceremonies and patriotic speeches honoring those who have served in the nation’s armed forces.

In Pittsburgh, spectators lined Liberty Avenue for the city’s annual Veterans Day parade and cheered dozens of marching bands, veterans groups and others as they passed by.

Tony Filardi, who helped organize the parade, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that officials are discussing moving the event to a Saturday so more young veterans who have to work during the week can attend.

About 250 people attended ceremonies at Valley Forge National Historical Park in southeast Pennsylvania that included the swearing-in of 22 recruits into military branches and the National Guard, said park spokeswoman Stephanie Loeb.

Gov. Tom Corbett observed Veterans Day at a State College event by drawing attention to new state programs and services for veterans.

Corbett touted a new specialty license plate for cars and light trucks. Fifteen dollars from the sale of each $35-dollar plate will go to the state Veterans’ Trust Fund, which helps veterans and their families.

He also noted that, starting in March, Pennsylvania veterans will be able to get a special designation on their state driver’s licenses or identification cards. Participation is voluntary, but the designation could help veterans qualify for discounts and other benefits, he said.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Democratic candidate for governor, touted her “One Pennsylvania” proposal that includes an increase in the number of service officers to help disabled veterans get benefits more quickly and expand programs that make college more affordable for veterans.

A Pittsburgh nonprofit group that helps homeless veterans brought together providers of various free services, including eye exams, legal help, employment interviews, health screenings and housing assistance for its annual “celebration of service” event. The group, called Veterans Place, provided free transportation to its Washington Boulevard center and a free lunch that included a chili cookoff.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, said Veterans Day acts as a reminder of the federal government’s obligation to support the men and women who have served in the military.

Most government offices and banks were closed for Monday’s holiday.

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