COLORADO SPRINGS — Saturday was a chance to say 'thank you' to our local veterans. The annual Veterans Day parade returned to downtown Colorado Springs after being cancelled last year.
More than 60 military and veteran organizations marched down Tejon St. and thousands more watched from the sidewalks. One of them was a World War II veteran who said the day was meaningful.
"That was back in 1944, 1945, (that I served) the big war that was going on... I guess it was World War II," said Leonard Root, who served in the U.S. Army Infantry in World War II.
The theme of this year's parade was "The Greatest Generation." It's a tribute to World War II veterans like Root.
"The greatest generation, that opens a lot of thinking and observations," said Root. "As a veteran, the first thing I was doing was being thankful. To see all these families along here, I just love that."
Marching bands, ROTC, and active duty units all participated the parade.
"We really understand what that sacrifice means, and it's really important for us to take time and honor that sacrifice that others have made, the ones who've gone before us," said Mike Becker, a chief warrant officer in the army.
He's been serving in the army for 17 years, but this year, was the first time he's been a part of the march.
"We've played these marches for over 100 years now, and so this is just part of our tradition in the military and just inspiring that patriotism that Colorado Springs is already great at," said Becker.
More than 80,000 veterans live in El Paso County, including Jon Clark. Today was the community's way of saying 'thank you' for their service.
"It is such an honor to be a veteran and to have served in the Navy," said Clark, who served in the Navy for four years and got out in 2013. "It's great. Everywhere we go, showing the support, we get thanked, and it's good to see that there's still people out there supporting our country."
Local businesses especially in downtown Colorado Springs are also offering specials today and for Veterans Day, happening on Thursday.