Fresno's 92nd Annual Veterans Day Parade

FRESNO, Calif.

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Mayor Ashley Swearengin was ready to give a speech as the Fresno State Marching Band and Color Guard prepared to start the parade. More than 9,000 people are taking part in the parade.

When the bell rang on the 92nd Annual Veterans Day Parade, all was well in downtown Fresno.

Children waved the American flag, and veterans drove or marched through a giant crowd of adoring supporters.

As many as 30,000 people lined the streets and a lot of them showed up hours early to get the best vantage point.

"This is a popular parade," said Fresno resident, Bobbie Cline. "A lot of people come and if you don't get a good spot, you won't be able to see."

But just two months ago, organizers said they were running thousands of dollars short on donations and without some help, they might have to cancel the parade.

Parade Organizer, Bill Dietzel said, "The next morning -- after you, the press, released it -- we had $36,000 at 10 o'clock and at 5 o'clock, we had $53,000."

The band played on and Elvis performed on a moving stage. In all, about 9,000 people took a place of honor in the middle of the street, many with long stories of service.

90-year-old Sam Bradford flew B-24 Bombers over Germany in World War II. Now, he's driving this to honor his fellow veterans here in Fresno.

Bradford's wife watched with pride as her husband drove past city hall, thankful the parade tradition was kept alive.

Bradford's wife, Shirley said, "It's wonderful for Fresno. You know, Fresno gets kicked in the behind a lot of times and I think it's great for the publicity and the good things in Fresno."

Organizers are already planning for the 93rd Annual Parade, hoping to continue the recent explosion in fundraising.

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A northeast Fresno retirement home honored nearly 70-veterans Thursday afternoon.

The celebration at "The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens" included a color guard from Fresno State and patriotic music.

Friends and family also took pictures of the honored vets. One of the residents, Don Merritt, is one of the only World War II Pearl Harbor survivors in the valley.

Thursday is also an extra special day for World War II Veteran, Ben Bakkegard. He's celebrating his 99th birthday this Veterans Day.

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The city of Fowler held a groundbreaking for the city's new Veterans Memorial Park.

when it's complete, The location at Merced Street and Adams Avenue will include a fountain, flags representing every branch of the armed services and a granite monument to honor veterans.

Fowler City Manager, David Elias said, "It's a great location. When the property became available it seemed like a great opportunity to be able to do something like this. To give back to the men and women that have served from this community. Some of them that have given all.

The initial funding for the Veterans Memorial Park came from the Fowler City Parks Department. But city leaders are still looking for donations to help complete the project.

If all goes as planned, the park should be finished in six to eight months.

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President Obama marked Veterans Day in South Korea -- paying tribute to those who fought in the Korean War 60-years ago.

"We are honored by your presence," said President Obama. "We are grateful for your service."

At Arlington National Cemetery Thursday day, Vice President Joe Biden noted that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have forced the military into continuing combat operations for longer than any other time in history.

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