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Annual Parade Up Fifth Avenue Honors Nation's Veterans

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Fifth Avenue was decked out in red, white and blue Monday as the city honored the nation's veterans.

The 94th annual Veterans Day Parade stepped off shortly after 11 a.m. and ran up Fifth Avenue from 26th Street to 56th Street.

An opening ceremony and wreath laying was held at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park.

"Just the millions of men and women who have stood in the past and continue to do so today," said U.S. Army Captain Mark Davisson.

"Just being together with all of these guys is like being back in 'Nam, we have a brotherhood that's so strong," said Chris DiCostonzo, a Vietnam veteran.

From the greatest generation of service members in World War II to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving now, it was a day for the country to simply say thank you.

"It's great to be an American and we come out here as a family, we work together, we come out here every year," said one parade goer.

"I try to think what it was like for them in combat and I really feel like these guys are really tough," said another parade goer.

More than 27,000 veterans, active duty military personnel and marching band members took part in the march, which organizers have dubbed "America's Parade."

"It's an honor for me to be in the parade with all these young fellas from Iraq and Afghanistan, it's a real pleasure. And I'm so proud to be able to march alongside them," said Rocco Moretto, a World War II veteran.

The theme for this year's parade was Women in Service. The grand marshal was Ann Dunwoody, the first female four-star general. It's a moment and honor many women are particularly proud of.

"I'm proud to serve my country and women are finally getting recognized for all their hard work over the years," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Marci Whitely.

"I think it's a wonderful thing because after so many years women have been in the ranks, and finally for us to get recognition it's great," said U.S. Army Sergeant Jaclyn Hernandez.

This year's parade was broadcast live on the Armed Forces network, so active duty service members across the world could see and hear New Yorkers express their gratitude.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama paid tribute to America's heroes by laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, were also on hand for the ceremony.

The president also welcomed service members and their families to the White House for a special Veterans Day breakfast.

In his Veterans Day proclamation President Obama said the country's obligation to those who served endures long after the battle ends.

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