GLASSBORO, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The annual Memorial Day Parade in Glassboro, New Jersey kicked off with the color guard paying tribute to the American flag.
For many, it was a huge comeback and reunion after the celebration was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
People from the area and even out-of-state came out for the close to three-hour celebration. Among the hundreds who came out, some remind us that freedom isn't free.
"Freedom is not free, as we celebrate today our brothers and sisters who have passed. It reminds us of the sacrifice for the freedom we have," said disabled Iraq Veteran Jordan Carlson.
Many people said today was in remembrance of family members and dear friends who made the ultimate sacrifice. Some said this year was especially important given that they could pay tribute in person with a celebration.
"This is a tremendous way to get everybody out, to get back to life," said Steven Ressler of Glassboro.
Parade-goers witnessed everything from the 177th Fighter Wing flyover to lively bands.
Glassboro VFW President Dennis Cleary and VFW Vice President John Tedeschi, who both served in the Vietnam War, said the focus is remembrance.
"My uncle John C. Foglietta, I'm named after him. He was in the Battle of Bulge," Tedeschi recalled.
"It's a tough day for us, it's not happy Memorial Day. Maybe it should be, 'Have a nice Memorial Day,'" Cleary said.
The celebration continued at the Glassboro Town Square where they called out the names of local heroes who served in World War I to Iraq.
The guest speaker, Karen Flaherty-Oxler, served as a Navy nurse for 38 years. She now lives in Moorestown, New Jersey. She spoke from the heart on why Memorial Day is important to never forget those who give us freedom.