THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — On Monday, hundreds of people watched parades, took part in ceremonies and paid their respects to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

As Velma Lang watch the parade in downtown Thomasville, she proudly waved her flag. With each military vehicle and veteran who passed, her memories of the hundreds of veterans she helped flashed in her head.

Velma is a former nurse at the Veterans’ Affair Medical Center in Michigan.

“They were always so close to my heart. It’s very hard for me not to get emotional because I love them all to this day, and I will love them forever,” Velma said.

You could see her excitement watching the antique cars, military equipment and the red, white and blue decorations come down Salem Street,

“The freedom this country has, is for the people who fought for this country. Some are leaving without legs and arms, and all that they did just for us. Sometimes we take it for granted. We owe everything to them,” she said.

“It makes me very proud to have served and very proud to be an American,” said Church Rivers. a Korean War veteran.

He and his family came out to the parade early and settled in a shady spot along the parade route. His son Mike decorated his lawn chair in red, white and blue and added flags so it would stand out.

“It’s a very important holiday for us. It’s Memorial Day where we honor all our fallen veterans,” Mike said. “My father was an Army veteran in Korea, so I’m out supporting him, too.”

David Sanders is a Vietnam veteran who brought his family out Monday morning.

He spent more than two years in the hospital, had more than 30 surgeries and spent a year on bedrest. It was important to bring his family out because they were his support system as he was recovering. 

“My family is my support. They brought me through a whole lot because I had a whole lot of problems. I had to go through a lot of programs, and my family stuck through me ever since, so I’m proud to have a family like this,” he said.

The remembrance event ended with a paratrooper ceremony in the sky

Mike had his eyes fixed on the Special Forces parachute team gliding down into Cushwa Stadium.

In the crowd were active-duty service members who hope to live up to the standards and legacies of their fallen comrades. 

11 Gold Star families were also honored in Thomasville.