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Veterans memorial unveiled in East Meadow's Eisenhower Park

Memorial honoring those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan unveiled on Long Island
Memorial honoring those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan unveiled on Long Island 02:16

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- This weekend is the time to remember and honor our nation's fallen heroes.

On Sunday, Nassau County hosted several ceremonies to thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

CBS2 has more on how a new memorial is meant to leave its mark on our history.

At the Veterans Memorial inside East Meadow's Eisenhower Park, the memorial was unveiled in honor of those who served and those who were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Nassau County is home to probably more veterans than any area in the United States, so we're very proud of the patriotism and the service of our residents," County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

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Solemn and dignified, yet also optimistic, veterans and their families came out to remember the heroes who never made it home.

"I urge as many people as possible -- they see a veteran or some activist serving, take the time to thank them, because it's not just them who serve, it's their families, the sacrifices that the families make," said Steven Seidenstein, a 1st sergeant for the 442nd Military Police Company.

They also remembered the battles some still fight to this day.

"I work in mental health at the Brooklyn VA Hospital. So I've worked with a lot of soldiers and I've seen soldiers take their lives and it's, it's touching, but it's well worth it," said Army veteran Lecia Rodriques-Whyte of Elmont Post American Legion 1033.

Officials say it is now Long Island's first memorial honoring victims of this nation's newest wars.

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Meanwhile, on Sunday afternoon in the village of Hempstead, the 138th annual Memorial Day Parade marched off from American Legion Post 390.

"We live in a day and time where there's extremes and we have to remember that even with our extreme differences, if it wasn't for our sacrifice, we wouldn't have the freedom to voice those opinions," Mayor Waylyn Hobbs Jr. said.

It is Long Island's oldest and one of the largest Memorial Day Weekend parades. It ended at Greenfield Cemetery, where families pay tribute to local fallen heroes.

"Hopefully, they're remembering why they're here and not just a holiday to have a barbeque," said John Stone, a founding member of the Wantagh American Legion Pipe Band.

The parade features attendees from houses of worship, school groups, local dance troupes and children's marching bands.

"You can learn from the younger generation as much as you can get wisdom and knowledge from the older generation," said Juanita Hargood, community event coordinator for the village of Hempstead.

Participants said it's the least they can do to thank those who gave their all. 

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