Sarasota honors veterans during parade through downtown

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SARASOTA, Fla. - The kids were full of excitement and the grown ups were full of thankfulness Monday morning in downtown Sarasota as the Veterans Day parade marched by.

“It is really important, without them we wouldn’t have our freedom, we would feel safe and we should thank them not just on Veterans Day but everyday,” said Kristy Robinson.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of downtown to watch the Veterans Day parade.

“Veterans Day is a day to honor all the living veterans that served in any of our military, said Vietnam Army Veteran Don Straub.

It was important to Steve Olmstead to bring all four of his children to the parade.  “To teach them about why it is important to be Americans, to be thankful for the people that give their service to us and to protect our freedoms.”

Six-year-old Alexander Diaz watched the parade with his mom.  “As the veterans were passing by, I was explaining to him what wars they were in and he had a lot of questions so I was trying to answer them the best I could,” said Andrea Villegas.

Others were content to just wave and say thanks to the veterans passing by in the parade.

At the end of the parade route members of the community gathered at J.D. Hamel Park. The Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee hosted the event to continue honoring veterans and to present an award for the veteran of the year.

Photos: Veterans and Veterans Day event photos from the Suncoast