COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Hundreds piled into downtown Columbia Friday for the 39th Annual Veterans Day Parade.
The parade, which is one of the largest in the Southeast traveled down Sumter Street and headed toward the State House. Those participating included school organizations, veterans groups, and first responders.
For many in attendance, who have fought for our country, it's a moment of pride.
Vietnam Veteran John Kimble who says he served in Vietnam from 1968-1969, told us the parade shows how many, now embrace veterans, a contrast when he came home from the service.
"It was not good for us, we never got what all the other vets got, up until so many years back," said Kimble. "It's good to know that they finally decided to come and do something for us. In the beginning, I guess we were the forgotten ones the ones who did things wasn't supposed to be doing in [the] war so they say."
Kimble says the parade and Veterans Day also allows him to reflect.
"I am still thankful that I'm here. Some of my buddies are already gone," said Kimble.
This year's grand marshal was retired Colonel Jack Van Loan. Loan, who is also a Vietnam Vet, was an air force fighter pilot who was shot down during a combat mission and spent six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam before his release in 1973.