The annual Veterans Day Parade began as it always has honoring the American flag and those who defend it. It almost didn't happen but did thanks to an outpouring of donations.
Parade Chairman, Bill Dietzel said, "When you say veterans they all show up. We're glad that they did cause we have an awesome parade."
And those in uniform find common ground to accept the gratitude and pass it on.
Marine Corp Major Terrance Slatic of Fresno was seeing the event for the first time invited to watch with the dignitaries. "One year ago today I was in combat armor walking around a combat post 59 miles north of the Pakistani border."
That was the second combat tour for this husband and father of four. His unit lost eight young marines during the deployment ... two dozen more were seriously wounded.
Slatic remains on active duty as a company commander at Camp Pendleton in southern California. Traveling home weekends to see his family.
"The young nineteen, twenty, twenty one year old marine deserves the very best leadership he can," said Slatic. "The powers that be have determined that I'm one of those who is qualified to do that and until they tell me I'm not, I will continue to do so."
On this Veterans Day he was honored for his service and awed by the veterans in whose footsteps he followed.
I'm humbled to be here with all these warriors who proceeded me but I have the benefit of having my two sons with me showing them what it's like," said Slatic.
Two young boys are likely to remember this day and all that it stands for.
On this Veterans Day 2010 there are some 3 million Americans wearing the uniform ... all across the country and all across the world.