It is a tradition that began before anyone can remember.
Clusters of men, women and children line Doughty Boulevard as marching bands, fire trucks, police cars, military personnel and members of the Inwood community stroll past during the annual Inwood Memorial Day parade.
“Certainly it’s been going on since World War II,” said Philip Lynch, 77, a Cedarhurst resident and member of the VFW Post 1582, which organizes the parade each year with the Inwood Fire Department.
Lynch, who served in the Navy, said he’s been going to the parade since he was a child. And Sunday was no different. He was among the dozens who turned out for the parade and memorial service held outside of the VFW building.
For Army Lt. Col. Gary Port, Memorial Day is about more than just parades and picnics.
“The thing about this holiday is that it is nice when you have folks like this who understand and remember what the holiday’s about,” said Port, 50. “It’s not about a day off, it’s not about fireworks. It’s about the fact that we can have a day off and fireworks because of the people who have sacrificed their lives so that we have freedom.”
Woodmere resident George Sava, 43, is a member of the American Legion Post 81 and attended the parade with his wife and three children.
Sava, an Army Reserves veteran who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, shared Port’s sentiment.
“It’s critically important that we remember those who surrendered their youth, their innocence, and their lives, in defense of freedom,” he said.
But for the Inwood community, the parade is more than just an acknowledgment of those in the military -- it is a tradition that brings the town together.
Jean Robano-Stocker, 66, has attended the parade every year since she was born. Her mother, who died last year, actually attended the parade on the day she gave birth to her.
“Up until a year ago when we lost my mom, we had four generations watching this parade,” she said.
This year, she attended with her daughter, Yolanda, 44, and granddaughter, Morgan, 10.
“The gentleman pushing the cart selling the little items, was pushing that cart when my daughter was 2,” Robano-Stocker said. “My daughter’s 44 years old, and he’s still pushing the same cart.”