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Annual Memorial Day Parade returns to DC after 2-year hiatus during the pandemic

Thousands lined the streets Monday for the annual Memorial Day parade for the first time since 2019.

WASHINGTON — With signs in hand after traveling from afar, scores of people made their way to see D.C.'s annual Memorial Day parade Monday afternoon -- the first parade held since the pandemic began.

Some families traveled from across the country to be in the city for the parade's return and to pay a visit to monuments around town. The annual event drew thousands to the nation's capital.

Area bands were in full gear in the sweltering heat to honor the men and women who died in service to their country. Rick Johnson, a retired Marine who served for 22 years, said he hopes those who came out take time to understand the true meaning of the day.

“We as Americans need to truly understand what being free is and what the American flag truly represents,” he said.

A Virginia woman, who asked to only go by Marlene, said though she’s lived in Arlington for 20 years, this is the first time she was able to give her thanks in person and honor those who are no longer here.

“We cannot be so relaxed or be free, like today," she said. "That’s why I came here, to say yay and thank you at the parade."

As the bands played familiar tunes, and veterans passed by, Chris Stockwell, an Army veteran, said he is thankful for those who chose, and choose, America every day.

“Not everybody goes out there and serves, but those that do, we need to show support for those people," Stockwell said. "They go out there and give their all to this country."

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