Russell Haines, a World War II veteran, was drafted his senior year of high school and spent 16 weeks in the Swiss Alps during the war. Upon returning to the United States, Haines never graduated high school and was a coal miner for more than 30 years.
But last weekend, that changed, when, during the Greene County Veterans Day Parade, State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene, presented Haines with his diploma.
Greene County came together the morning of Saturday, Nov. 11, for the Greene County Veterans Day Parade. The event was sponsored by the Veterans Council of Greene County.
The parade began at 9:30 a.m. along High Street in front of the Greene County Courthouse, and was led by Parade Marshal Ralph Conklin, 93, a World War II veteran who served on the USS Kenneth M. Willett DE 354 from 1944 to 1946.
The parade and other activities around Greene County are recurring festivities to thank and remember all veterans who have served and continue to serve.
Michele Deems, parade chairman coordinator, stressed how important it is to always recognize veterans and remember what they fought for.
“This parade is to honor our veterans,” said Deems. “And to thank them for their service—to honor all branches that have served in the military.”
Deems said regardless of today’s political climate, with patriotism and the national anthem an ever-growing topic of contention, everyone should still recognize how critical the service of veterans is to the well-being of the country.
“It’s extremely important,” said Deems. “We should show how important it is to continue our American tradition, to have the freedom to do what we do – we got those rights from what veterans have done.”
In attendance at the parade were multiple public servants, including State Rep. Pam Snyder and Greene County Commissioners such as Blair Zimmerman.
Some of the floats on display during the parade lauded veterans from World War II and the Korean War, and several floats commemorated women in service as well.
Also in the parade were the Waynesburg Fire Department and marching bands from Waynesburg Central High School and Carmichaels High School.