By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – Thousands of people lined Civic Center Park for the annual Veterans Day Parade Saturday morning.

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“It’s just a chance to show respect for the past veterans, the present veterans, and the future veterans,” Jim Fore, a Vietnam veteran with the U.S. Army, said. “It’s really a hot topic for me because my dad was in, I was in, my son spent three tours in Iraq, and my granddaughter is in the Army now — so it’s kind of a family thing.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

With American flags in hand, families spent their morning honoring the many men and women who have served. During a time when the nation feels so divided, Fore hopes events like the parade help make everyone more united.

“Maybe it’ll make the country come together and heal a little bit,” Fore told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.

Some families did take time to heal ahead of the parade. A ceremony was held at the Colorado Veterans Monument where names of fallen heroes were read, including by U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman. Gov. John Hickenlooper also attended.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Today is about honoring everybody, including him,” Glenn Beine, stepfather of fallen Marine David Sonka, said.

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David Michael Sonka, 23, made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan three years ago. Beine created a Facebook page where he remembers Sonka, but also honors another veteran each day. He said Veterans Day is emotional for the family.

PHOTO GALLERY: Veterans Day Parade In Denver

“I miss David every day,” Beine said. “It would be great if today he was in the parade as opposed to having his name read.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

All the more reason to honor our veterans every day.

“If you see a GI, a vet, go up and say hi to them,” Fore said. “You’ don’t necessarily have to say ‘thank you for your service.’ That helps, but just recognizing the veterans or the service person.”

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Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.