NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – America celebrated the nation’s flag on Thursday.

Flag Day commemorates the day Congress adopted the “stars and stripes” as our flag back on June 14th, 1777.

World’s Largest Free-Flying American Flag 

Chopper 2 flew high above the George Washington Bridge Thursday to get a look at the world’s largest free-flying American flag.

The flag weighs 450 pounds and is 60 feet wide by 90 feet long.

More Than Century-Old Tradition Still Going Strong

A more than century-old tradition honoring the stars and stripes was still going strong in New York City, as hundreds of people marched through Lower Manhattan.

The crowd, many of them students, performed from City Hall to Fraunces Tavern Museum to commemorate Flag Day. 

“It represents freedom to me,” said one little girl.

“I like the stars,” another added.

Herman Rueger came all the way from Ohio to participate, handing out American flags to parade-goers and teaching children all about why we celebrate.

“They don’t always learn as much in school, and this is a good way for them to learn about our American history and to be proud of our flag today,” he said.

But maybe it’s the adults he should be schooling.

“I think Flag Day is just a celebration of different cultures and different flags,” one man said.

“You expect me to reach back – way, way back,” said a woman.

Someone who didn’t need a lesson was Linda Hange.

“It means our freedom,” she said.

She said her father, sons and grandson served in the armed forces. When she looks at the American flag, she thinks “There are so many people who went before me, who have made it safe that we can be here in this country… This is the best country in the world.

It was the 102nd year the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York put on the event. It’s one of the longest continuously running parades in the state.

LI Students Learn True Meaning Of Flag Day

On Long Island, one school made sure younger generations learned the true meaning of Flag Day.

The high flying celebration at Commack Road Elementary School gave more than 400 students the opportunity to start their day by honoring “Old Glory.” The youngsters sang and performed the pledge of allegiance in sign language during the ceremony in Islip. 

“Flag Day is about celebrating the flag and celebrating how great a country America is,” fifth grader Mia Vale said in a speech to the audience.

“It’s about supporting all the veterans and what they’ve done and how they’ve helped America be as great as it is today,” student Julian Vitucci added.

Children at the Long Island school also had the opportunity to thank actual military veterans, who were at the Flag Day celebration.

“I served in Vietnam from December 1966 to December 1967 with the 199th light infantry brigade,” American Legion member Roby Johnson told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis. “It’s very important because too many times the kids aren’t taught (about Flag Day).”

There are more than a hundred flags on display in front of the school during the annual celebration – each one represents a veteran connected to the local community. Commack Road will hold its 20th Flag Day ceremony in 2019.

Also in attendance were Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, Town of Islip Councilman John Cochran, and Kara Welling, the legislative aide to Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen.