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66-year-old Queens parade pays tribute to veterans

May 27, 2012 8:25:33 PM PDT
Since 1946, people have lined up on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills to honor veterans on Memorial Day.

This year, several generations of the Schaefer's were front and center - including 81-year-old Jack.

"Patriotism is not dead after all. I love it when there's a parade and people turn out to honor the men who gave their most," said Jack Marching in the parade, next to Mayor Bloomberg was Robert O'Malley, a Medal of Honor recipient who fought in the Vietnam War. The parade was about honoring every branch of the military. Joseph Roman was stationed in Europe during the Korean War.

"It's part of our country, part of our history and part of the future and I'm very proud," Roman said .

For this generation, the parade serves as a real life history lesson for children who are too young to realize they owe their freedom to these men and women.

"They really can't understand but at least they can appreciate and cheer on the people who have fought and the people who have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Mary Beth Schaefer.

Those who come, most from the neighborhood, make the short walk to the parade route from their homes. However, this year, many say things were a little different.

"In past years I remember the curbside being full, 10 deep ," said Queens resident Pat Baker.

"Last year we had more floats, a little more music but we go through cycles, that will change," added Queens resident Allan Larsen. Although one thing will always remain the same - the spirit of the day and the endless, thank yous.

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