Freedom is not free ... it always comes with a price.
On Memorial Day, people from all over the country unite to recognize the greatest sacrifice men and women can make.
Holy Trinity R.C. Church Rev. Joseph Zalacca began the Memorial Service with some words about that sacrifice.
OBSERVER Photo by Jasmine Willis
The American Flag is carried proudly down Route 5 in the city of Dunkirk as the Memorial Day parade begins.
OBSERVER Photos by Jasmine Willis
Lt. Chris Wilson presents the 2014 Grand Marshal plaque to WWII veteran Michael Tofil.
"We remember those who have served," he said. "Loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. All those who risked their lives to protect our freedom."
Rev. Zalacca recalled the scripture, "No greater love is this than to give your life for a friend," and he acknowledged the men and women who have done and still do this today.
Mayor Anthony J. Dolce announced to the crowd gathered at Memorial Park that this day is one of his favorites.
"This is truly one of the things I look forward to the most," he said. "These events are happening all over the country, in small and large communities. This day allows us to honor those who sacrificed for us. We must honor our heroes everyday, all year; we must keep this alive."
Commander George Burns III (U.S. Coast Guard) grew up in Dunkirk and shared the true meaning of what it is to be a hero.
"Patriotism sometimes means we are called to defend our freedom in great armed struggles; those struggles are very costly on the toll of human life. Some consider those men and women who left the safety and comforts of their home and went to far away hostile lands to defend our freedom and died," he said. "The relationship between patriotism and life becomes very complex. Patriotism becomes something more than flags and proud families showing sons and daughters in military uniform. Patriotism becomes something that carries risk, and that risk is life itself."
Attorney and veteran Peter Clark talked of the birth of Memorial Day.
"We want to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice today (Monday). One hundred and fifty-one years ago Edward Everett gave a two-hour long speech, which I will not repeat," he said. "The speech that followed I think embodies this day very well."
Clark read President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and a poem by a Canadian soldier.
In the Gettysburg Address, the Civil War president talks of the world not remembering what was said, but it will remember what was done, and on Memorial Day, 151 years later it is still honored.
Many local organizations participated in this year's parade including Dunkirk Senior High School JROTC, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Rubber Made Brigade, Roswell Park, Upward Bound Program, Dunkirk Little League and the Dunkirk Middle and High School bands.
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