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Tributes at Hempstead's Memorial Day parade

From left, children Dominque Johnson, 7, Denae Wilson,

From left, children Dominque Johnson, 7, Denae Wilson, 5, and Metria Webb, 4, with Aretha Hardy and Monique Green of Hempstead in background, cheer for friends during Hempstead Village's 129th Memorial Day parade on Greenwich Street. (May 26, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

Military veterans, elected officials and residents came out Sunday afternoon to Hempstead Village's 129th Memorial Day parade to pay tribute to the fallen men and women who gave their life to protect America's freedom.

About 30 people, mostly decorated veterans and elected officials, gathered at noon near the Civil War monument at the Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale for a brief ceremony before the parade.

"This is a solemn place, where some of our . . . heroes died," Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos said. "Their sacrifices can never be repaid, however, their sacrifice should not be forgotten."

The keynote speaker was Reginald Butts, 75, of Oyster Bay, a retired petty officer with the U.S. Navy. The Vietnam War veteran is the former American Legion's Nassau County commander.

"Let's not forget what Memorial Day means," Butts said. "It's not about beaches, picnics and motor races . . . We all went to the heroes who died to remember them."

Long Island's oldest parade stepped off a few hours later at 2:30 p.m. from American Legion Post 390 on Marvin Ave., proceeding down Greenwich St. to the cemetery where wreaths are placed on a Civil War monument.

"It's important we remember those people who gave their lives for us," Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. said.

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