AIKEN, SC. (WJBF)- “Well , I’m proud to be an American, uh, the red, white and blue we group up saying the pledge of allegiance and saying the Lord’s prayer and all those things that are so important because we need to recognize that we are the home of the brave and the land of the free,” Cindy Delaney said.

Representatives from many organizations participated in Aiken’s Memorial Day Parade. 

“It means a lot to me, especially knowing that my grandfather was in the Marines and my great-grandfather was in the Army– um, you know, it just means a lot,” Aiken High JROTC student Zachary Mitchell said.

The parade was a time to remember the fallen soldiers who served their country, while also recognizing the ones who fortunately made it home. 

“It makes me feel great to know that people care, especially after you have been involved in a war. You come home– see we were veterans in Vietnam, we didn’t get recognized when we came home but we thank God we made it home,” Veteran Haskell Staley said.

The work that these men and women accomplished while serving, inspired the generations after them. 

Aiken High School students say they are grateful for programs like the JROTC which shows them who and what they can be. 

“Respect and love, like you always [have to] respect your counterpart, your peers, always have to show love to those because there may be some people that have– just have a hard day, hard week– you just have to show love and respect ‘em,” Aiken High JROTC student Jeremiah Cooper said.

Especially when they can participate in events such as Saturday’s parade. 

“I think it shows a lot of respect and honor, you know, to all of our past veterans who are still here and not here,” Aiken High JROTC student Maya Cianni said.

Staley says showing veterans appreciation shouldn’t be something that comes only once a year.

“Honor the veterans, not just one day, but throughout the year.”