NEW YORK CITY -- Approximately 35 Marines from Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion, based in Norfolk, Va., participated in the 7th Annual Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade during Fleet Week 2007 on May 27.
The parade, which was hosted by the St. Stanislaus Memorial Post 1771 American Legion, Knights of Columbus Lexington Council 293, and the American-Slovak-Citizens of America, began at the American Legion and traveled for a few blocks through the welcoming city.
The Marines were joined by a Navy band, sea cadets, various local service members, and veterans from past wars.
"The reason we have the parade is to honor our past veterans and celebrate with our current men and women who serve," said John
Pieprzak, St. Stanislaus Memorial Post 1771 American Legion commander.
"Today we remember, respect and honor the memory of the ones
who came before us. Memorial Day weekend is not about the sales in the stores or the three days off from work. It's about our history and our
As the Marines marched through the streets with veterans from such wars as Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea, and World War II, Brooklyn
residents stood on the sidewalks cheering and thanking the troops.
During the march, it was common to hear a former Marine who
was watching the parade yell, "Ooh-Rah," to the Marines marching by.
"The Marines were sharp and looking good during the parade," said Sal Emma, a parade spectator. "They looked very honorable, professional and well-disciplined. They are truly an example of what people can look up to."
"I loved watching the facial expressions on the veterans when they saw the Marines march by," added Emma. "It was good because there
were people who are coming back from war and preparing for war coming together to embrace each other."
After the march, the Marines proceeded to a reception at the American Legion. The Marines showed their appreciation by spending time with the veterans and singing a few songs together.
"There was a lot of food and drinks," said Kyle Plautzm, 3rd FAST (Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team) Company security guard. "I really
appreciated the celebration after the parade. It's nice to know all these people support us."
Having the Marines march through the streets and bond with the locals afterward was a way for the city to meet and become friends with
the service members who protect their freedoms, said Pieprzak, who was a corporal in the Marine Corps during Desert Shield and Storm.
"It's like Christmas in the summer when we see young men and women in uniform," added Pieprzak. "This is how we relive our youth and our time when we were in the service."