TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Thousands of people turned out in Tallahassee Monday to honor the nation's veterans for their service with a lively parade through the downtown.
The FSU Marching Chiefs thundered past the state Capitol playing a rousing version of "God Bless America" to the delight of folks lining the downtown streets.
Youngsters enthusiastically waved flags and danced as a long line of floats cruised by the Capitol. Girl Scouts carried signs thanking veterans. Officers fired a gun salute that echoed throughout the Capitol complex.
This year's Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshal was Major John Haynes, who served in the U.S. Marines from 1945 to 1975.
Melinda Lyon sat with her daughter and granddaughters on the curb watching the parade. She wore a special leather jacket with the insignias of the military branches and with a message never to forget the nation's defenders of freedom.
Melinda said she was thinking of her late father who served in the Air Force. She hoped her granddaughters would never forget an important lesson of Veterans Day.
"I get so emotional on this day. So many people of my family have fought for our freedoms. My granddaughters are here and I try to stress to them freedom isn't free."
Ken and Teresa Borges were thinking of their son as they watched the parade. He just left two weeks ago for his third deployment to Afghanistan.
"I'm thinking about him a lot today," said Ken. Teresa said they were glad to be at the parade.
"Honoring our veterans. Proud. Proud Americans."
The Tallahassee Veterans Day Parade also featured a flyover by a B-17 Bomber restored by The Liberty Foundation. The bomber appeared in the movie "Memphis Belle."
The World War II-era plane now offers flights to people who want to experience some of the same sights and sounds that soldiers saw 70 years ago.