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At Memorial Day parade in Freeport,

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FREEPORT, N.Y. – One of Long Island’s largest Memorial Day parades celebrating servicemen and women takes place in Freeport. 

As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reports, the John W. Dodd school marching band kicked off the parade down Merrick Avenue, supported by an energized cheering squad. 

“Our cousin is leading the color guard in this parade, so we’re very happy for her,” one person said. 

Twins Nicholas and Alexander, 7, also came to watch someone very special: Their father. 

“Favorite part is my dad in the parade, and watching the band, watching cars, watching the police officers pass by,” they told Duddridge. 

“My husband is a Freeport police officer, so we’re teaching them what it means to serve and protect. They consider him their hero,” said Marina Moreno. 

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Students and bandmembers are also learning about what Memorial Day really means. 

“It’s all about honoring armed services,” one person said. 

“The children understand that today is one of the, if not the most, important performances of the school year,” said teacher Justin Friedman. 

Gillian Neblett is a cadet commanding officer with the ROTC. She’s off to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. 

“This work is very important. We need people here to protect our country. I think this is one of the most important lines of work to be in,” Neblett said. 

Neblett hopes to one day rise up in rank, looking up to servicemen and women like Staff Sgt. Aaron Roberts, who has served for 11 years. 

“Deployed three-separate times. All three times I’ve had the best time of my life,” Roberts said. 

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The mayor of Freeport, also a Vietnam vet, says it’s thanks to these men and women that we have the freedom to enjoy beaches and barbecues. 

“Freedom of speech. Freedom to protest. Freedom of religion. Freedom that this country has today,” Mayor Robert T. Kennedy said. 

At the end of the parade route is the laying of the wreaths, and people reflecting on the service and sacrifice of our veterans.

Source: CBS

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