San Diegans turned out Monday to honor our veterans with a parade along the San Diego Bay and a special festival aboard the Midway Museum.
NBC 7 was a proud sponsor of the third annual Salute to Service Festival, which took place 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. on the aircraft-carrier-turned-museum docked along the Embarcadero.
Crowds turned out for the annual parade, which kicked off around 11 a.m.
Families enjoyed vintage cars, floats and a few marching bands from local high schools.
“You’ve got to support and honor the veterans who work hard and protect our country. This is a nice, fun way to support them and show we care about them,” said Monte Vista drum major Kevin Aguirre.
But the main focus was thanking our veterans. More than a few times, people marching in the parade would walk to the curb to shake the hand of a veteran sitting or standing on the sidewalk.
“I’m glad to see that there’s a more favorable or more positive attitude towards veterans in general,” said Vietnam war veteran Reuben Casteneda.
Later, well over one thousand people attended the Salute to Service Festival, including former crew members of USS Midway.
Like at the parade, a reoccurring theme at the festival was how much things have changed since the Vietnam War era, when vets weren't always welcomed home with open arms.
"It was bad for those Vietnam vets coming back. It's unbelievable," said Ray Taylor, a Navy veteran. "With the way they get treated now, it's fantastic. I wish I had that kind of treatment when I got back."
People also talked about treatment for veterans suffering from PTSD and the struggles they sometimes face joining the workforce.
"When you get a military person, you're going to get dedication," Navy veteran Charles Montgomery said. "The guy comes to work everyday, and he knows he has to perform. If he doesn't perform, he's gone."