COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – There was a sea of red, white and blue at the 11th Annual Tri-City Veterans Day Parade on Saturday morning.

The parade stretched from Broad Street in Phenix City down to Broadway Street and 9th Street in Columbus. The streets were adorned with American flags and families eager to cheer on their veterans.

U.S. Army veteran, Sergeant First Class George Sanks Jr. of the 82nd Airborne Division, served for 21 years. The Alabama native wore a veteran hat embellished with various pins, symbolizing all of the units that he worked in during his time in the Army. These pins serve as a reminder of his achievements and what being a veteran means to him.

“It means a lot to me,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sanks Jr. “I joined the Army to focus and protect my country. And it was gratification for me and a career.”

Sgt. 1st Class Sanks Jr. made sure to cheer on his fellow veterans with the crowd. With such a heavy military presence in the community, it meant so much to the veterans to witness such a public display of appreciation.

“It did my heart greatly because this is what it’s all about,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sanks Jr. “We have to protect our country. And guys like myself, we put our lives on the line for this country.”

The parade featured several organizations, bands, military personnel and city representatives. Some of the participants included the U.S. Army, Russell County High School Junior ROTC and Mt. Olive Sunderland Volunteer Fire Department.

Veterans Day serves as a celebration to honor veterans for their willingness to serve and for their patriotism. It’s a day for everyone to put aside their differences and pay respect to those who sacrificed everything.