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Intimate Memorial Day ceremony at Pinelawn

It was an intimate and low-key Memorial Day ceremony, but the meaning wasn't lost on the small group who attended.

A dozen or so families sat under a green and white tent at Long Island National Cemetery, and reverently watched the short parade of bag pipes, veterans and flags pass by.

Those who watched at times sat, stood, saluted and placed a hand over their hearts. Some dabbed at their eyes with napkins as the bag pipe band played "Amazing Grace" or when the firing detail shot three times into the air.

Amid the invocation and various speeches, Anthony Gentile, 32, of Seaford, sat with his family -- five children, his father and his wife -- as his kids played with small cloth American flags.

They come to this ceremony every year, Gentile said, in honor of his grandfather Theodore Gentile, who served in World War II, and is buried here.

"The two most important things in my life and in my family's life is patriotism and Catholicism," Gentile said. "This is our way of paying respect to those people who laid down their lives for the freedom we enjoy."

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