Thousands of military veterans were joined by loved ones and supporters on Tuesday at New York's annual Veteran's Day Parade, which stretched down Fifth Avenue from 26th Street to 52nd Street.

The honorary procession paid respects to veterans and current members of the United States Armed Forces, offering a loving embrace to all men and women who've risked their lives for their country.

"It's a recognition that most of us really appreciate," said veteran Caesar Lugo, who attended his first parade as a Junior ROTC Cadet. "I was on the subway this morning and a young lady, 14 years old, said to me, 'Thank you for serving our country.' That made me feel good."

In conversation with veterans, a running theme was the importance of honoring servicemen in the wake of the '70s, when those returning from the Vietnam War were met with stark disapproval.


"When we first got back from Vietnam, they treated us like crap," said a veteran named Mike, "so this makes up for all the lost time."

As for the future of the armed services in the States, Anton Dietrich, a 96-year-old World War II Veteran with two Purple Hearts, said that he hopes to see it "continue on" for years to come.

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