A Salute in the Square

These days we call them "The Greatest Generation." But if you ask most World War II veterans to describe themselves, most likely they'll tell you they were ordinary G.I. Joes just doing their duty in service to their country. Well, during this week's Market Square Farmers Market, from 10am - 2pm, a special fundraising committee will visit the Square to raise awareness and money for the much-anticipated and long overdue Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial on the North Shore to honor all local veterans who served in Europe, Asia and everywhere else during the war.

The urgency in completing the memorial is that WW II vets are a vanishing breed. Of the 16 million who served in the war, fewer than 1.5 million are alive today — and their average age of these heroes is fast approaching 90. But their ranks are thinning rapidly as nearly 750 former soldiers, sailors and marines die each day. The need to create a lasting testament to their bravery is more important and urgent than ever before.

While the memorial will be a solemn tribute to local WWII vets, the activities in the Square will be a festive occasion. Traveling along musical memory lane, the River City Swing Band will perform nostalgic hits of the era such as "Moonlight Serenade" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," from 12 noon - 2pm. As the band plays, two nimble-footed swing dancers from the Downtown Arthur Murray Dance School will entertain the crowd with routines that symbolized the Big Band Era. And visitors to the Square can show their true red, white and blue colors by getting a photo taken with a "living statue" similar to the figures set for the proposed memorial. So rally ’round the flag for this fitting salute the heroes of World War II.

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