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Tens of thousands march in New York City Veterans Day Parade on Saturday

Annual Veterans Day Parade held in New York City
Annual Veterans Day Parade held in New York City 01:44

NEW YORK -- More than 20,000 people marched in the 104th New York City Veterans Day Parade on Saturday. 

As generations of heroes marched up Fifth Avenue, generations of Americans came to show their gratitude. 

The traditional opening ceremony was held in Madison Square Park before the parade started in the Flatiron District.

The ceremony included a solemn wreath laying at the Eternal Light Flagstaff to thank the millions of veterans who risked their lives to protect our freedoms. 

Once the parade stepped off, the adoring crowd waved and cheered on marchers from 26th Street all the way up to 47th. 

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The warm reception brought a smile to 102-year-old Walter Rybarczik, who served in World War II. 

"This is the greatest thing that ever happened to men," said Rybarczik. 

"It can be overwhelming, there's so many people. I didn't expect this size of an audience," said Vietnam War veteran Charlie Siner. 

This year's parade commemorated several important military milestones, including the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. 

"I know it was a long time ago, but we shouldn't forget," said Linda Wray, of Brooklyn

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Wray's late husband served in the war. She brought a picture of him to the parade, so he could be there in spirit. 

For many, Veterans Day is a deeply personal day. 

"For me it's just an incredible honor," said this year's grand marshal Lt. Gen. Mike Linnington, CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project. "Of course it's not about me. There's more than 16 million veterans in our country today that have served and sacrificed so much for us all." 

"I'm sixth in my family, sixth New Yorker, and we've all been sent to war," said Mark Otto, executive director of the United War Veterans Council. "And my great great uncle was with the New York division in World War I, and that was one of the first units to actually march on this Fifth Ave. parade route." 

The parade featured nearly 300 marching units representing every branch of the armed forces. 

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