Veterans Day Parade dedicated to Iraq, Afghanistan war vets - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Veterans Day Parade dedicated to Iraq, Afghanistan war vets

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Veterans Day was observed Tuesday in downtown San Diego with a parade dedicated to members of the armed forces who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The parade, which followed a one-mile parade route down North Harbor Drive, attracted thousands of spectators to the waterfront.

Along the parade route, the San Diego Blood Bank held its annual Veterans Day Blood Drive at the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, where a tribute to former members of the military was held.

"It's nice to have people say hi and thank you for my service," Navy Cmdr. (Ret.) Rob Douglass said.

Retired Marine corporal Jorge Salazar lost both legs in combat, but he walked the route with loved ones by his side.

"It's nice knowing we have a lot of Americans... the patriotism is really high here. I love San Diego for this," he said.

Now 65, Phillip Castillo enlisted in the Army when he was just 19 years old. He said being at the parade brout back memories -- some bad, some good -- like the time he met his father for the first time while both were serving in Vietnam.

"Out of 30,000 soldiers, I found my dad and we served together for 6 months before he went home and I had to stay for another 6 months," he said.

In a separate event, the Ocean Beach Community Development Corp. unveiled the final design of a new veterans plaza that will be constructed near the main lifeguard tower. Community leaders said the current memorial honoring area residents killed in battle is in disrepair.

"The inscriptions on the original medallions are so worn down you can't even read the names of my veteran brothers and sisters," said veteran Dave Martin. "These are men and women who fought and, for some, paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. This new Veterans Plaza will show them the respect they deserve."

At the event, the Ocean Beach Town Council donated $10,000 for the new memorial.
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