COLUMBUS, Ohio– The annual Veteran’s Day celebration in Columbus began with a bang Friday, as the 1st Ohio Light Artillery fired a canon in front of the Ohio State House. 

At noon, thousands stood in the cold November air to honor our nation’s bravest, with a special nod to the greatest generation and celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the end of World War II.

  • Residents and military Veterans of central Ohio gathered Friday for the capital city's annual Veteran's Day parade.
  • This year, organizers honored members of the greatest generation.
  • Only a fraction of the 16 million Americans who served in World War two are still alive. 

“The World War II veterans we owe so much to, and we really wanted to honor their sacrifice and their service. They have faced a very tough life in some of the things that they’ve experienced after the war, and many of them lost a lot of friends. So we really wanted to honor them for all they’ve done to support our country,” says Veteran’s Day parade chair Jane Lengel. 

It was the 15 World War II veterans in attendance who stole the show, both in the parade and afterward, pausing during the ceremony to reminisce with each other. 

97-year-old William Geiger Senior of Reynoldsburg served in the Pacific during World War II.

Year after passing year, Veterans Day still holds a special place in his heart.

“I appreciate the respect, but the great guys I left behind, they were the real heroes. They were good soldiers, we didn’t have a lot to fight with, but we had a lot to fight for,” says Geiger Sr. 

The hour and a half long parade spanned from Nationwide Plaza and concluded in front of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.

All branches of the military were represented as well as local military bands.

Only a fraction of the 16 million Americans who served in World War two are still alive. 

And on this Veterans Day, while we say thank you to the Greatest Generation for their service, sacrifice and wisdom.

“We’re a free country, freedom is not free,” says Geiger.