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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – In celebration of Veterans Day, Miami Beach held its annual parade along Washington Avenue from 17th to 11th streets.

Starting at 11:11 a.m., floats and performers made their way down the street as supporters saluted the vets and gave thanks.

“It means everything to us. It means we get to have our freedom because of them, because of their hard work, dedication and commitment to this country to protect us,” said Allan Stern who is with the JROTC at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.

Veterans and their families lined the streets.

“We want to pay our respects to other vets not able to be here today,” said Army veteran Brett Brookins.

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“It’s awesome! I like to see as much support as possible, not only today but throughout the entire year because these are our children overseas or here in our home country protecting our rights,” said Brookins wife Elizabeth.

In addition to floats, veterans and marching bands there was an F-16 flyover. A veterans parachute team also landed at Flamingo Park, at 12th Street and Michigan Avenue, for a wreath laying ceremony and free picnic.

Some vets said the fanfare is always welcomed.

“It feels great that we have people here to watch, see us and give us thanks,” Brookins said.

“I did it for the country, so yes it gives me honor to serve and I feel honored when people say you served,” said veteran Joseph Pigg.

World War II Army Air Corp veterans played a major role in the history and development of Miami Beach. Miami Beach was the training grounds for air servicemen in 1940s. Many South Beach hotels were used as housing for the troops that would march and exercise on the beach, golf club, and streets on regular drills.

The County Causeway was renamed the MacArthur Causeway in honor of General Douglas MacArthur. After the war, many of these veterans with “sands in their shoes” made Miami Beach their permanent home.

“I appreciate the vets putting their life on the line,” said parade attendee Linda Reeves.

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