Memorial Day is a good time to pause to remember the sacrifice of those soldiers who have given their lives to protect our country, including those from Westchester who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Westchester doesn't wait for Memorial Day or Veterans Day to assist current and former troops. The county's Veterans Service Agency provides information and help year-round.  

There will be many events in Westchester Saturday through Monday, including local parades.

In addition, veterans and their families are invited to a special Veterans and Service Member Appreciation Day on Sunday at Playland.

The event is a way to give thanks to our veterans, while offering an entertaining day filled with military pomp to other visitors enjoying the park. In keeping with recent tradition, a helicopter search and rescue demo by the U.S. Marine Corps will highlight the event, which will run from 1 p.m. to midnight

The more traditional Memorial Day ceremony will include an honor guard, firing squad and bugler, and be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Music Tower Theater. The Marine Corps demo will be from 3-5 p.m. (weather and aircraft permitting).

The Marines Corps demo includes landing and manning a perimeter while two gunships provide "cover." A gunnery sergeant will provide a narrative as the helicopters complete their show and then open to the public for tours. After the demonstration, the helicopters will be available for public display along with the weapons typically used by a Marine Corps rifle platoon. The participating Marines are part of a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force from 8th Marines, Camp Lejeune, NC.

Also participating in the event are the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System and Fordham University - Westchester campus.

As part of the day-long event, military personnel in uniform, OEF/OIF veterans and veterans in an organization cap or uniform will get free rides all day. Other veterans and their family members as well as active duty military personnel will get special ride offers and discounts.

Parking passes (for those who didn't pre-register) will be distributed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and ride band registration will be from noon to 6 p.m. Veterans must show their DD-214 papers, a VA ID or a current membership card to a veteran organization.

Veterans are asked to pre-register and get a pass for free parking. Stop by the Veterans Service Agency, 112 E. Post Road, Room 442, White Plains, or call (914) 995-2146.