Philly POPS dedicate opening concert to servicemen, women

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The Philly POPS gave its first holiday concert Friday night with a special tribute to a special audience - the men and women who serve and protect.

"It's the way the Philly POPS give back to the military and the first responders. If we didn't do this, they probably would not be able to come to our concert," said President and CEO Frank Giordano.

And what a welcome they got as military and emergency vehicles lined Broad Street.

Victorian Carolers serenaded as the guests of honor arrived in full dress uniform.

It was a rare night out in the city for Sgt. Josh Hussar of the Air National Guard and his family from Lehigh County.

"It's nice to put the blues on every once and while and get out and see everybody, and see everybody else in their dress blues and dress uniforms. It's great," said Hussar of Macungie, Pennsylvania.

"We all really appreciate just being able to come out and enjoy a night out like this especially around the holiday time," said Alison Lanz with the United States Army. "We all have so many friends and family members that may be overseas and fighting for us."

A group of veterans from World War II and Korea tell Action News they're grateful to have been remembered.

"It's great to be honored," said Coast Guard veteran Bob McLaughlin.

The POPS also recognized retiring Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey for his service with the inaugural Golden Baton Award.

"But the real honor goes to men and women in public service and in the military," said Ramsey.

This is the second year the Philly POPS offered the free concert. And organizers said it will continue to help bring the Christmas spirit to who sacrifice for us.

If you're looking to get in the spirit, there are tickets available for the next nine performances of the Christmas Spectacular. The show runs through Dec. 22.
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