Waving flags and dressed in a sea of patriotic red, white and blue, crowds lined Middle Country Road in Centereach on Sunday for a Memorial Day parade that featured more than 850 marchers from every corner of the community.
From elected officials and veterans to dance troupes and high school marching bands veterans, all walks of life were represented in a unified effort to honor those who have fought to protect America’s freedoms.
Robert Wilson, 76, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4927, the organization that sponsors the yearly event, fought in Korea and said the parade, which has become a decades-long tradition, means a great deal to him.
“Not only am I marching with my son, who served in Desert Storm, but I’m surrounded by friends, neighbors and fellow veterans who have served and done their share," he said.
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), who along with other elected officials led off the procession, said Memorial Day parades are important.
“They serve as tangible reminders of what people who have worn uniforms have done to protect our nation," Bishop said. "This is a time to take stock and pay homage. Parades are part of Americana.”
“Red” Sicardi, who lives on Henry Road where parade participants gather before the kickoff each year, said the parade is the “most exciting thing” to unfold in Centereach every year.
“It brings everyone in the community out,” he said.