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Detroit — About 4,000 veterans made a 2-mile march down Jefferson Avenue on Sunday for a pre-Veterans Day celebration.

Every branch of the service and participants from several conflicts attended the parade, including Vietnam War Medal of Honor winner James McLoughan, who served as a Specialist-5 medic.

The parade, now in its 12th year, is held to increase public awareness of the sacrifices of all veterans and their families in serving in the armed forces.

“We had rain, we had lightning today, but we also had a lot of proud and happy people,” said Phil Harrison of Auburn Hills, the parade manager for the Metro Detroit Veterans Coalition. “We had about 3,500 people last year and more this year.”

Harrison, who served in the U.S. Army between 1982-86, said this year’s parade including 18 veteran post commanders from around the state and veterans from Jonesville, Michigan, posts recently honored for collecting more than 1 million pounds of scrap metal for charitable causes.

“They needed two buses to make the 108-mile trip here,” said Harrison.

Another prominent group was the “Wins for Warriors” veterans charitable group organized by former Detroit Tiger pitching ace Justin Verlander.

The parade began at noon at Martin Luther King High School and Chene Street and concluded at 1:30 p.m. at Hart Plaza, where a “Vets Fest” with speeches and festivities had to be shortened due to lightning in the area, Harrison said.

The parade is held a week before the national observance of Veterans Day due to numerous local celebrations in communities and posts throughout the area on Nov. 11.

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