Crowds gather for annual San Jose Veterans Day Parade

SAN JOSE, Calif.

After the National Anthem was sung, one unit after another passed the reviewing stand to show respect and appreciation for those who served.

Veteran John Martinez brought his grandsons to watch this year's parade for one simple reason.

"I want them to know what it really is to be an American citizen, what the flag really means, what our freedom is about, and on this special day, this is the day, Veterans Day, is the reason why we have freedom," Martinez said.

The parade units reflected service as early as the Civil War. But, one man stood with a photo of his brother, killed in Vietnam in 1967, to remind people of peace and the impact of war.

"I don't think that people really understand what happens to a family. They talk about what happens to the troops. That's a good thing that people understand that, but they don't know how it devastates the families," brother of Vietnam War casualty David Ledesma said.

For one man, the parade procession reminded him of the need to take care of the newest crop of returning vets.

"A lot of people went into the Armed Forces because they couldn't get jobs, and now that they're going to be coming out, we're going to have an interesting situation," San Jose resident Howard Nakashiki said.

This is the 95th year for the San Jose Veterans Day Parade, and while a lot of crowds lined Market Street, some people have noticed the crowds in some areas are a little thinner than usual.

"There is a lot of people getting older. They can't make it down here because they're handicapped. I think a lot of American people are disgusted with their government, and they don't think about coming to something like this," San Jose Vietnam War veteran Peter Petrucci said.

Whether that was the case or not, spectators got to enjoy scouts and school bands, even a Scottish bagpipe unit.

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