Veterans share importance of Monroe County's first Veteran's Day Parade
(Ben Vahey/WHAM){ }

Red, white, and blue lined Highland Park as community members and local leaders paid tribute to past and present members of the Armed Forces with Monroe County's first-ever Veteran's Day Parade. 

Many veterans at the parade shared their stories from war, but also shared what they think we can do to thank our veterans for their service and why events like this are so important. 

Vietnam veteran, James Swarts, has dedicated his life to exposing the true cost of war. 

Swarts believes that one of these great costs is the impact of war after service. 

"200,000 veterans have committed suicide. That is one of the great costs of was that people do not talk about," said Swarts, President of Veterans for Peace. "That's why it is very important that people be aware of the trauma that our veterans go through."

Lieutenant General John Love served over 40 years in the Marine Corps. Love also spoke about the sacrifices of veterans- whom he calls 'the heart and soul of our nation'.

"You are the ones who left the comfort of your home to do whatever was asked of you, no matter what the level of difficulty or danger. You are the ones who endured hardships and separation from family, friends, and loved ones," said Love. 

Mary Beth Knowles, who served 20 years active duty before becoming an elementary school teacher says she tried to impart some of what she learned through service onto her students. 

"As I taught my young children in my classroom after my career in the military, please let's find peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. If you want to thank me as a veteran, work for peace," said Knowles. 

To learn more or to donate to veterans in need, visit here. 

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