Residents lined a mile-stretch of Myrtle Avenue for the 75th Annual Memorial Day Parade, which is organized by The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale.
In addition to members of the military, the parade also featured many civic groups and a host of elected officials.
Gaime Vargas, an active member of the U.S. Army, was one of the hundreds of people who lined the parade route. He served in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, and will be redeployed to fight once more this Fourth of July.
“This parade means everything,” he said. “For me, it’s all about the guys who served and did not get to come home.”
“We love our country and our soldiers,” said Kathleen Argenzio of Ridgewood. “This is our way of honoring them,” she said.
Monsignor Edward Scharfenburger from Saint Matthias Church in Ridgewood gave an invocation at the end of the parade route at Cypress and Myrtle avenues. He was joined by former state senator Serphin Maltese, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.
Maltese, himself a veteran, reminded the crowd that since World War I three-quarters of a million people have died defending the country.
“Our freedom is not free,” added Crowley.