Memorial Day means so much more to veterans than the beach and barbecues.
"I don't believe it's a three-day weekend," one veteran told FOX 5 NY. "It's to remember why we're here and why we're free."
Veterans say a parade is one way to respect and pay tribute to the men and women in the military who sacrifice their lives for our country. Each waving flag is a symbol of unity, strength, and a reminder to never forget.
Rifles were fired and wreaths were laid in the honor of the fallen in a solemn ceremony at the Intrepid Museum. Hundreds of members of the military and veterans attended the service. U.S. Navy veteran Richard Mills said the Intrepid holds a special place in his heart because he served on board from 1960 to 1962.
"Two of the best years of my life when I look back on them," Mills said.
Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul attended the ceremony and recognized those who fought for the country's freedom.
"This is where dreams are made and built and we have to always protect that dream with the men and women who defend this soil," Adams said.
The mayor and governor also attended the Little Neck–Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, which has been taking place since 1927.
"It's a day we can never forget those who paid our price for freedom with their blood," Hochul said. "So it's a somber day but it's also a day to say that we will always stand up to protect our rights as Americans, our rights as New Yorkers, whether its global terrorism or domestic terrorism."