150th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, one of oldest in country, features moving 'Field of Flags' ceremony

BAY RIDGE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Hundreds lined Third Avenue in Brooklyn for what is one of the oldest Memorial Day parades in the country.

Parade goer Ellie Draper Flory and her family traveled from Virginia to be in attendance.

"I had a brother, who was a navy pilot, who was killed," she said. "And a dad who was in the Army and Air Force in World War II, so it hits home for me."

People from every generation who have lost dear friends and returned home with others who will never be the same attended the parade in Bay Ridge.

Veteran Steve Savarese served in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

"It's awesome we celebrate the holiday, but we also remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

Marchers are directed to a ceremony during the parade that involves 348 flags called "Field of Flags" -- every one represents a solider from New York who has died since September 11.

Organizer Charles Gili and his family created the moving tribute back in 2007 for people like Patchogue native and Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

Gili's family also runs the US Hockey Players Support Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that raise money for gold star families.

"Memorial Day should be every day in my opinion," Gili said. "We have a lot to be thankful for. The sacrifice these men and women make is staggering when you think about it."
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