NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On the Sunday before Memorial Day, patriotism poured out onto the streets of Queens.
CBS2s Tara Jakeway got a front-row seat to the festivities.
What does Memorial Day mean to you?
“All of the guys that I left… I do this every year. I’m proud to (honor) the men who didn’t come back, the women who didn’t come back,” said James Reilly of Lake Ronkonkoma.
Reilly, a Marine Corps veteran, served our country in Vietnam and Korea.
“It’s heartbreaking. So many men and women gave their lives for this country,” added Herb Nowak, a Marine Corps veteran from Queens.
Nowak, also one of the few, the proud, served in Okinawa and the Mediterranean.
“No other organization in American history has done as much for this country as the military has,” Nowak said.
Both native New Yorkers were beaming with pride as they road alongside fellow veterans in the College Point Memorial Day Parade.
“There would be no barbecues on the beach without them hitting the beach,” a member of the NYPD Emerald Pipe Band said.
The Emerald Pipe Band is heading to Normandy to represent New York on the75th anniversary of D-Day next week. On Sunday, they serenaded marching military members from around the country.
Queens residents rocking red, white and blue showed their support, waving flags from balconies lining the boulevard.
“A little appreciation goes along way,” said Pam Dobuler of College Point.
“To see the support that they have for us, it really means a lot to us. It keeps us grounded,” said Navy Lt. Dustin Foster of Jacksonville, Florida.
A group of kids gathers here every year and they hold all different signs, but they all have the same message.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for helping us and to serve the country,” one said.
Just down the street, 8-year-old Mikey Malik got to deliver that message personally, thanking sailors for defending our country.
Also marching on Sunday were the future defenders of our country, representing a College Point junior military academy.