AVALON, N.J. (CBS) – The music set the mood, the sun added a bright spot to a solemn day in which the country remembers the war dead and the ones currently in war.

“They sacrificed their lives or limbs, one of the two, and we’re here for that reason,” said veteran Emil Oscar.

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Hundreds proudly waved their American flags as they lined Dune Drive in Avalon for a Memorial Day parade.

Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi recognized Ed Smith. May 30th, the original date of Memorial Day, is his birthday which he shares with his father.

“Memorial Day is my birthday, today I’m 88 years old.”

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But as you know, every veteran doesn’t live a long life. Adam Conboy didn’t make it home to his mother, who has been determined to keep her son’s memory alive.

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“Memorial Day, I’m afraid to admit, used to mean the beginning of summer. That is until a sunny May in 2006,” said Mary Conboy.

She used to send her son care packages to Iraq, filled with pillows, blanket and toiletries. Since his death, she’s sent more than 12,000 packages to troops overseas through her organization Operation Bedding.

“Operation Bedding is my life,” said Conboy. “It has given me a tremendous way to deal with grief but to show my children that out of every tragedy you can triumph.”

If you would like to help Operation Bedding visit http://www.adamconboymemorialfund.org/

Reported by Jericka Duncan, CBS 3

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