They played taps and laid wreaths at Veterans Memorial Park, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, an annual tradition outside the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Brooklyn in the week before Memorial Day.   

"It's an important time for us, a very trying time for us to remember our fallen brothers and sisters," said Danny Friedman, president of the Brooklyn chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.

The veterans attending these ceremonies are older and grayer now, having served in Vietnam, the Korean War and World War II. 

"The Second World War veterans, as you know, we're losing them fast," said Prisco "Pete" DeAngelis, president of the United Miltary Veterans of Kings County. "The average Korean War veteran is in his 90s now. The youngest is 85. I think I'm one of the youngest. I went to Korea when I was 19."

DeAngelis is also on the board of the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, which runs through Bay Ridge.

Sixty American Legion posts in Brooklyn once collaborated in staging the parade. They're down to 38 now. 

"Every year, we're losing one or two posts, and because the members got old and they can't keep it up, they can't get new members, so we transfer whatever members they got left so we don't lose them into other active posts," deAngelis said.

DeAngelis says the most active post right now is the American Legion in Bay Ridge, with more than 300 members. But that's less than half of what it once was. The post opened in 1919 as World War I ended. As it gets ready to celebrate its centennial, its future is uncertain.

"That's one of the problems we have," said Raymond Aalbue, chair of the Brooklyn Memorial Day parade. "We're trying to reach out to our younger veterans, our new veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the Gulf War veterans. They're busy."

But perhaps young and old veterans have a lot to offer each other. 

"They can come out and see if they could help us out, and maybe we could help them. Start something," Aalbue said. "We're all open to helping our younger veterans assmiliate back into society and quite possibly start their own organizations, their own posts."

Most importantly, they say, to keep up remembrance ceremonies to all those heroes who died for their country.

"If we don't do it, they'd be forgotten souls, and we could never let that happen," deAngelis said. "I won't let that happen, and my crew won't let that happen."

A crew with so many years of service and valor.