SAN DIEGO (NNS) - Veterans and service members from around the San Diego area were honored for their service during a Veterans Day Parade Nov. 11.

The 24th annual parade was dedicated to those who served during the Cold War. For one participant, the parade was an opportunity to say thank you to those who have served and also to those who are currently on active duty.

"It is important to say thank you to those men and women who have served and sacrificed for their country and this parade is a great way to do that," said Grand Marshal Clark J. Kholos, a retired Air Force colonel. "Also, I think it more important to recognize those who are on active duty because they are continuing to defend this country."

Kholos added that he is impressed by how well San Diego treats its veterans and how much the city supports the local military.

"San Diego is one of the premiere locations in the world that supports the military and its veterans. Out of all the places that I have been stationed, San Diego has been one of the best," Kholos said.

Veterans Day commemorates the service of all veterans and is an opportunity for those serving today to reflect on why they joined the military. One Sailor in the parade said that Veterans Day means following the tradition of his past family members.

"A lot of my family members have served in the military and it was important to me to join the Navy and continue that tradition. By having a veterans day observance each year allow everyone to reflect on the past and to never forget how this country has became what it is today," said Hull Technician 1st Class (SW) Tim Willoughey, a participant in the parade.

The grand marshal had a message that he would like to send out to those who are on active duty.

"Hang in there and always remember the reason why you decided to join the military," Kholos said. "Also, I am very proud of each of you."

In 1919, President Wilson declared Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower changed it to Veterans Day and announced that it would serve as the time to celebrate and honor veterans for their service, sacrifice and love for this country. Every president since Eisenhower has renewed this call and regardless of what day of the week it falls on, Veterans Day still continues to be observed on this date.

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