CLARKS SUMMIT — They served overseas in wartime and they still serve.
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Abington Post 7069 will lead the downtown Memorial Day parade Monday. The post has operated in the Abingtons community for more than 70 years. It not only supports veterans but also civic and community events including the annual parade.
Borough Councilman Dominic Scott has chaired the parade for the past 22 years.
“There is no place friendlier than the Abingtons,” Scott says. “It’s a great place to live.”
A Korean War veteran, Scott serves with Commander Donny Jones, Quartermaster Michael McLane and others who give their time to support veterans and the community.
Marching in Monday’s parade, veterans of the VFW are committed to the men at their side, as they honor and remember those who have passed on. A brotherhood, which for men like Jones and McLane, extends beyond the uniforms they wore.
“We’ve been friends for almost 50 years,” Jones said of McLane. “I met Michael when I worked for his Dad at the Tribune and we’ve been friends ever since.”
Jones, an Air Force veteran, served in support capacity during the Vietnam War. He now supports veterans and the community as he serves as commander of the Abington’s VFW.
The camaraderie and values shared by the veterans strengthens their friendships.
“It is a brotherhood we have here,” Jones said.
He carries an old newspaper clipping in his pocket detailing the heroism of his friend, Michael McLane.
“I don’t know why he carries that thing around,” McLane said, shaking his head.
Jones grinned with pride.
McLane, a Vietnam War veteran, served with Bravo Company, First Battalion, Ninth Marines. Wounded in 1969 in the A Shau Valley, he was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, among other commendations.
McLane came home to work as a journalist and retired as a veterans’ rep for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor. He has been quartermaster at the Abington VFW for 25 years.
The men enjoy drinks together at the VFW’s club, called the Canteen, located at 402 Winola Road in Clarks Summit.
The VFW Post 7069, which was started in 1947 by WWII veterans, welcomes veterans and social members.
“All the charter members are gone now,” McLane said.
This includes his friend Robert Morgan, WWII and Korean War veteran, who died in 2005.
“He was the ultimate veteran,” McLane said as he placed a flag on Morgan’s grave in the Hickory Grove Cemetery in Dalton.
“Bob Morgan was active in the post,” McLane said. “He carried the flag in the parade. I used to meet him for a drink every day at the club.”
Honor isn’t lacking with the men of Abington’s VFW.
Last year, the parade was cancelled due to weather.
“We made the decision with the borough at the last second and we labored over it, but it was a safety issue at that point,” McLane explained. “He grinned at Jones as he added, “After last year, we said ‘rain or shine, even if there’s just the two of us in the parade, we are doing it.’”
For decades, there has been a long line of police, fire, school, church and community groups that follow the veterans of Abington’s VFW.
In this community, these men don’t walk alone.
VFW Post No. 7069 Memorial Day Services
Abington Memorial VFW Post 7069, Clarks Summit, will conduct Memorial Day services at the following locations: Abington Hills Cemetery, 8:30 a.m.; South Abington Memorial Park at the tank off Shady Lane Road, 9 a.m.; Clarks Green Cemetery, 9:30 a.m.; Hickory Grove Cemetery off Miller Road, Waverly, 10 a.m., and at the post home, 402 Winola Road, immediately following the annual parade in downtown Clarks Summit. The parade marchers will form at Clarks Summit Elementary School on Grove Street Monday, May 28 at 10 a.m. The parade begins at 11 a.m., proceeds down Grove and State streets and ends at the VFW building on Winola Road. A memorial service will follow. To be included in the parade, call 570-586-9821 after 1 p.m.