For the first time in two years, the Veteran's Day parade took over San Jose streets after being halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year's parade theme was "Heroes in Motion" and was celebrated with several groups, including veterans from every conflict and every era, along with VIPs and marching bands.
On it's 103rd year, the parade in downtown San Jose thrilled residents like Kim Chrestenson and her veteran father Jack.
"I love it, and I like not having a mask," she said laughing. "We're all vaccinated."
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Prior to the parade, retired Marine Corps colonel and Grand Marshall Bill Peacock, who is also a board member for the Palo Alto VA and former cabinet member under President Jimmy Carter, welcomed the crowd emphasizing the celebration.
When talking to NBC Bay Area, Peacock made sure to emphasize Congress needs to help veterans who are homeless and dealing with substance abuse. He pointed out that on average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
"Now that says a lot about how America is taking care of its veterans," he said," and believe me, when you get it down to zero, then you're doing your job the right way."
South Bay Congressman Ro Khanna agrees.
"We need to make sure they have funding for housing and funding for all of the all of the access to mental health and wellness that is necessary given some of the trauma they face overseas," he said.
Despite concerns over veterans issues that still need to be addressed, the mood at the parade was upbeat. Perhaps due to a combination of recognizing those who served and finally being able to celebrate outdoors.