RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Thousands turned out to honor the men and women who have fought in the War on Terror Saturday morning on Armed Forces Day.
The "Welcome Home The Heroes" event let the community welcome home our post-9/11 heroes -- and offer thanks to their family members for their sacrifices.
The day started with members of the Armed Forces taking part in impressive parade down Boulevard. [BONUS: Watch Greg McQuade's "Home from War" reports]
"I think it's something that speaks not just about the military in Richmond, but people in the United States," said Alexander Nyunt.
After being stationed in Iraq for several years, Nyunt appreciates the time he is now able to spend with his family.
Roger Cox, who served in Guam, is now offering help to his comrades in Vietnam. But Cox said the support and gratification he witnessed at the parade is coming a little too late.
"Some people had some kind of resentment,” said Cox. “They didn't get the welcome when the war was over…. Vietnam, during that time, had a different effect on the country than Iraq."
Although memories of the wars can be painful, organizers hope the event sends a strong message.
"It's time we stopped and said ‘thank you… for everything you've done for us,’” said Welcome Home Parade Chairperson Robin Beres. “Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for the fact that our kids can go out and not worry about it."
After the parade, officials were on hand from the Veterans Administration, along with pro bono attorneys, to help vets and their families.
Organizers also said entertainment would be provided after the parade. [UNCUT: Watch part of the "Welcome Home The Heroes" parade]
Virginia has one of the country's largest military populations as it is home to the Pentagon – and the world's largest naval base.
Service members make up one percent of the US population, which have been fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for ten years.
The family members of our service men and women also carry a burden, often being away from their loved ones for months – or even years – at a time.
From all of us at CBS 6 News and WTVR.com, we are grateful for our military members courageous work and provide our sincere thanks on this Armed Services Day.
Additionally, CBS 6 reporter Greg McQuade is telling the stories of veterans who have returned to Central Virginia after serving their country in Iraq or Afghanistan. Look for Greg’s reports each Wednesday on CBS 6 News at 11 or click here to view them on WTVR.com. If you know a veteran whose story Greg should tell, let Greg know on his Facebook page.
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