NEWBURGH – People lined the Newburgh waterfront Saturday as the fourth annual “Salute to Freedom Flotilla” passed by on the Hudson River.
Some 40 boat owners volunteered their vessels to take veterans, including wounded warriors and Gold Star families, on a tour of the river from Bannerman’s Island to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
About 40 boats joined the flotilla
Supporters, including Marines and Air National Guardsmen in uniform, as well as people with flags waving, stood along the marina docks to cheer them on as they made their last pass.
Senator William Larkin, a retired career Army officer, was on board one of the boats and was touched by the show of support from people at the waterfront.
“I thought it was great to see the people in the water, in their boats putting signs up and saying, ‘We honor you and we will remember you’. That’s the big thing, honor is one but, remember what the veterans did,” said Larkin. “You look at some of these Marines over here; some of them have been two and three across the pond. They’re whole goal is to defend and protect America and that’s what this was all about today.”
Afghanistan Army veteran Shelby Nelmes was on board one of the yachts with her family and said seeing the people out there really made her feel good about her service.
“It just felt great to have all that support and everyone that came out here, soldiers and just other civilians that came out to support, it was really nice,” said Nelmes.
After the boat ride, veterans and their families enjoyed a BBQ at Billy Joe’s and mingled with their comrades and supporters.