JACKSONIVLLE, Fla. – American heroes -- veterans and active-duty military -- were honored Monday with the annual Veterans Day Parade in the streets of downtown Jacksonville.
Despite a brief downpour, thousands of spectators lined the parade route, which weaved from TIAA Bank Field to the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
The parade, presented by The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, is one of the largest parades in the Southeast. It featured more than 4,000 participants, including grand marshals, senior military officials, active-duty and retired military, veterans service groups, local high school marching bands, decorative floats, JROTC units and more.
The rain came down hard after the parade got underway but the shower cleared up quickly and participants marched on.
Erika Lantron said watching Monday's parade made it easier for her children to understand the sacrifices their father, a sailor deployed on the USS Iwo Jima, is making overseas.
"Knowing what he's doing, it makes it all worth it and that our kids have that to look up to,” Lantron said.
Taydon Haile, who was medically discharged from the Navy after an explosion, marched in the parade with his children as part of the Wounded Warrior Project group. He said participating in the parade and seeing his brothers and sisters in arms makes him feel supported.
"It takes me back to that day when I graduated from boot camp and those tears are rolling down your face when you hear the song and you see the flag,” Haile said. “It brings back that pride."