The caissons kept rolling all through the 2012 Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade on Monday.
Beneath a bright blue sky sprinkled only with cottonwood fluff, marchers of all ages and many backgrounds came together to honor those who have given their lives to protect the nation.
Crowds of watchers — often with the stars and stripes in one hand and a water bottle in the other — lined Northern Blvd., cheering as each new squad, battalion, or celebrity made their way past.
Amongst the political figures who turned out was Senator Charles Schumer.
"I always come to walk the route," he said. "It's a great chance to meet the people here. Let's hear it for eastern Queens!"
The FDNY's Fire Family Transport Foundation came out with their restored 1951 fire truck dubbed Engine 343 to honor the 343 firefighters who perished on 9/11.
Retired Firefighter Danny Prince and treasurer of the organization said the vehicle was originally from South Carolina and now it acts as their representative at public events.
Another vintage vehicle was driven by Navy veteran Paul Parnes who drove his 1928 Chevy tow truck in the procession. He said there were only three others like it running, and that he had assembled it mostly from parts.
"It's not finished," he said, "But they never are."
The Marks family from Little Neck staked out a spot in the shade near a 7-11 at the end of the route. They said they were impressed seeing Mayor Michael Bloomberg in person, though his appearance was a brief one.
We learned after the parade that some of our interview audio recordings cut off unexpectedly. If we spoke to you or someone you know at the parade we would appreciate it if you contacted Robert Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org in case there are any misspellings or other issues.