WNYers salute those who have served and sacrificed

KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) - Many western New Yorkers were out in the sunshine Monday, to salute those who have served and sacrificed.

Ken Ton’s 65th Memorial Day Parade started at 11 a.m. The parade route stretched from the intersection of Sheridan Drive and Delaware Avenue to Mang Park.

Veterans groups, and the town and village sponsor the annual event. The parade includes a veterans’ march, marching bands and floats carrying local groups and businesses.

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Every year the village of Kenmore grows exponentially on the morning of Memorial Day.

“Every single year we’re out there. This crowd is significant. And you just want to be part of it,” Chris Cooley said.

The Memorial Day parade has been a staple of the community for 65 years. Mary Hallmets and her sister Tammy know not to take it for granted.

“She had a stroke a few months ago, and we were told she wouldn’t live. So we’re so excited to get her out of the house, moving around, and to enjoy the beautiful parade and beautiful weather,” Hallmets said.

For many, the parade is a family tradition. The Memorial Day parade brings Kenmore and the surrounding communities together. Some of these people have been sitting in the same spot for the parade for 10, 20, even 30 years.

“Our family has been on this same corner for 31 years, watching the Kenmore parade,” Dave Knapp said.

“Probably for at least 20-30 years,” Cooley said.

Everyone from children to politicans march in the parade each year. And it’s all to honor military veterans who have sacrificed for our country. And that’s something they haven’t forgotten.

“A lot of the veterans and people I know don’t always feel appreciated. And this is one way we as a community can show our appreciation,” Knapp said.

“We’re here to honor the vets who gave so much of their service to this country and for us. And we’re a country of the free because of those brave people,” Cooley said.

And that’s something that makes veterans in attendance emotional

“This is one way the people are saying thank you, to us. With that big thank you, it sets me off. Believe me,” said retired Army Capt. John R. Kasmer.

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