YARDLEY-MAKEFIELD >> Waving flags and cheering, thousands jammed Main Street in Yardley Borough on Monday to celebrate their freedom and to pay tribute to the men and women who died fighting to preserve it.
Applause erupted from every corner of the street as veterans from American Legion Post 317 and Yardley-Makefield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6393 marched by carrying the American flag.
Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other wars joined the march either on foot or in a series of cars escorting them down the parade route. Among them was veteran Ed Torres, who served as Memorial Day bugler for many years. He waved to the crowds from inside one of the vehicles.
The parade continued with the VFW and American Auxiliaries and their respective poppy queens.
Also joining the march and firing their muskets along the route were re-enactors representing the Revolutionary War era and the 14th Continental Regiment. Their leader, Frank Lyons, the owner of the Continental Tavern, portrays John Glover in the annual reenactment of Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River.
Yardley Borough Mayor Chris Harding carried the "Carry the Load" flag down Main Street in recognition of the nation’s heroes, including members of the emergency services (fire, police and emergency medical technicians) and the U.S. Armed Forces who put their lives on the line every day for others.
The award-winning Pennsbury High School Marching Band brought patriotic tunes to the parade route as they twirled flags and played their instruments.
A number of local politicians also joined the march, including State Rep. Perry Warren, Lower Makefield Supervisors John Lewis, Fred Weiss, Dan Grenier and Suzanne Blundi and Yardley Borough Councilmembers Bryon Marshall, David Bria, Sandi Brady and Caroline Thompson.
The parade also included the Nicole School of Irish Dance, the American Legion Post 317 baseball team, Pennsbury ROTC, the Alpha Bravo Canines, Brad Varney and his antique flatbed truck, the Bucks County Ruff Riders 4-H Club, a number of antique and sports cars, the Yardley Ice House and others.
Also marching by were members of the Yardley-Makefield Fire Company. They were followed by a parade of antique and rescue vehicles, including the company's restored Studebaker engine, Engine 0, Ladder 0, Ladder 80, Engine 80, Fire Police Utility 80 and its Marine Rescue Unit. The "Big House" (Falls Township Station 30) also joined this year's parade.
With bells ringing and wheels turning, the parade concluded with a decorated bike parade organized by the Yardley Borough Recreation Board.