By Anita Oh

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The country’s longest consecutive Memorial Day parade continues to draw a large crowd in Doylestown after 150 years.

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“What it took to get here for our veterans, for their families, for the country. We get a chance to honor those today,” said parade marshal Chris Suessenguth.

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Organizers say an estimated 20,000 spectators lined the route of the parade, which kicked off at 10 a.m. at Central Bucks West High School.

“My girl’s in the Girl Scout troop and we’re here to see her walk,” said Dan Winter of Warrington.

The celebratory sights and sounds then turned somber.

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Credit: (CBS3)

The parade ended at the Doylestown Cemetery with a wreath-laying ceremony to honor fallen heroes.

Ed Krensel served in the Korean War.

“In a place called the Yanggu Valley. It’s actually in North Korea because the DMZ starts at the 38th parallel but as it goes east, it actually elevates well into North Korea.”

He says the meaning of the day often gets lost behind barbecues and blowout sales.

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“It’s not a happy holiday,” Krensel said. “I have a flag at home and I raise it to half staff and that’s to remember the dead and that’s what the holiday’s about.”

That’s also why 97-year-old Vern Keates, who served in World War II, attends this Memorial Day service each year.

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“It’s a remembrance. I lost a cousin in the very beginning of the war and I have to come to these things to remember him,” said Keates.