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Buffalonians and out-of-towners celebrating new and old traditions

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Posted at 3:18 PM, Jul 04, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — An update on a ship whose partial sinking garnered donations from across the world.

The USS The Sullivans is "doing good" but is still closed for tours, on this Independence Day.

PREVIOUS STORY: Effort to save USS The Sullivans moves from emergency to maintenance phase

A park employee told 7 News that the other ships (ie. USS Little Rock, USS Croaker) are still open for tours, but not to expect The Sullivans to be open until possibly next year.

The USS The Sullivans ship is standing tall on Independence Day, but still closed for tours.

"It's just a fun place to be because people are really interested. Since the little episode with The Sullivans a few weeks ago, people are more and more interested, and they should be. This is is the largest inland Naval Park in our country and we're proud of it," Vietnam veteran, Alan Greenley, told Pheben Kassahun.

In the meantime, 7 News caught up with tourists on the Buffalo waterfront to see how they were celebrating The Fourth, two years after the pandemic paused celebrations.

Buffalonians and out-of-towners alike, soaked up the sun from the picture perfect weather.

While many use this day to enjoy the waters and grub on a hot dog, many did not take the true meaning of this day for granted.

Vietnam veteran, Alan Greenley (left side, standing up) is having a conversation with his fellow colleagues and other veterans while on The USS The Sullivans ship.

Greenley said, "Serving here on the ships just brings back all the memories and the thoughts of all the people that gave their lives to let me do what I do."

Alan Greenley shared that he served on the USS Canberra, out of San Diego. Growing up, he remembered celebrating on Chautauqua Lake with his family.

He served in Vietnam from 1962 to 1965.

"The Fourth of July mean a lot to me and meant a lot to me before I was in the service. My family always celebrated with picnic style stuff in the backyard and with relatives and after I got out of the Navy and got a home, went to school, had a family on my own, it was always with the family picnics," Greenley said.

Mary Kirkland was in town for The Fourth, with a few of her friends, to celebrate a bridal shower.

Bride-to-be Marisa Salmeri (right) is celebrating her bridal shower with her friends, Mark Kirkland (middle) and Jackie Baker (left).

Kirkland shared, "Growing up, my family was really big. We had a lot of people that served. A lot of times, we would get together, really big families and friends coming to support and celebrate them. We like to cater to them, make them a special day, give them a big cookout, doing fireworks. Anything that they really love to do."

Jackie Baker added, "We are celebrating Marisa because she is getting married, but we're not from here, so she's showing us the sites of Downtown. Getting coffee, but also just seeing the cool features, the art on the streets, the people, the really cool places that you can go here."

A native of Buffalo, and a lover of traditions, bride-to-be Marisa Salmeri is creating new ones, all while celebrating those who fought for our freedom.

Salmeri explained, "Just being able to express myself in the way that i want to. enjoying the freedoms that so many sacrificed for us, including my father, a Vietnam veteran Marine."

Zachary Andolsek and his wife, Lindsey Kamberaj, are celebrating one year of marriage on Monday, July 4, 2022.

Another new tradition comes from a Rochester couple.

"It's our first wedding anniversary, very exciting. I feel like we should be doing something more outlandish, but here we are exploring Buffalo. It's been a helluva year to say the least. We've done a lot, been to a lot of places and it's nice to be back in Buffalo," Zachary Andolsek said. "We came out to her parents, left the kids with them. It's been a beautiful day so far. It just started. We came to see the waterfront, get some food, remember Buffalo and see what has changed since we have left."