JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thousands of people came to Downtown Jacksonville on Monday to participate in Florida's largest Veterans Day Parade and honor those that have served our country.
Bay Street from the Sports Complex to downtown, and Independent Drive and Water Street to the Prime Osborn Convention Center, was lined with family, friends and good food.
A huge American flag was hoisted over the parade route, flags of all sizes were carried by units marching along the route and many in the crowd wave small flags. There were dignitaries, military units, high school marching bands, JROTC units and dozens of community groups represented.
"I just enjoy seeing all the people and the children that are enjoying the parade and that we recognize our veterans for what they have done for our city (and) USA," Coby Bishop said.
The grand marshal of the parade was the oldest person living in Florida who served in the military: 101-year-old Sollie Mitchell. He was drafted in 1941, trained at Fort Benning, became a staff sergeant and was assigned as a firearms instructor at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. He saw combat in the Philippines in 1945.
"It was a very exciting day," Mitchell said. "I just can't believe how the community has rallied around me. It gave me the will to live another year."
News4Jax broadcast the parade so those who could not make it downtown but wanted to say thank you to the men and woman who have served and sacrificed for our country could participate.
"These men and woman who serve our country and everything keep us free and from harm -- we need to honor them and thank them every day each time we see one," Jamie Visnic said.