PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Cameras were out, babies were sunscreened, and drummers were breaking a sweat on Monday morning at the return of Portsmouth’s Memorial Day Parade on High Street.

It’s one of the longest running parades in America, a tradition rich in history brought back to life for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

It’s the city’s salute to the service and sacrifices of those in the armed forces.

“We haven’t forgotten them. I’m a disabled veteran myself and we haven’t forgotten them,” said Phyllis Bradley, who’s from Virginia Beach.

Alexis Rudolph stands in agreement — never forgotten and always honored. She attends the Naval Academy and hopes to make those fallen servicemembers proud.

“To me it’s just carrying on a legacy, carrying on that pride, and just pouring it into the next generation,” Rudolph said.

It’s a community staple many say they missed, and the louder, the better, says 6-year-old Mason Dyar.

“The little ones, not these ones, and not the other motorcycles, but the ones that were real loud,” Dyar said.

Kendall Jones is a drum major for I.C Norcom High School’s band. He says it takes a lot of training to be fit enough to march and play an instrument for several blocks, but he’s happy it’s back.

“It’s feeling great you know back in business, quarantine, after COVID shut everything down … first of all, the energy is great out here I love the people out here showing support, you know we feed off it,” said Jones as he warmed up.

Everywhere you looked, flags flew high in the breeze so people young and old could reflect and honor all who have fallen in the fight for our freedom.