FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Thousands of members of the Fort Jackson and Columbia communities took advantage of the sunny weather to pay honor to service members past and present on Veterans Day.

This year's activities got off to an early start with a wreath-laying ceremony at Gate 1 Nov. 10. The guest speaker was Jack Van Loan, a former Air Force pilot who was a prisoner of war for six years during the Vietnam War. On Veterans Day, Fort Jackson Soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. James Milano, took part in the City of Columbia's 32nd annual parade in honor of the nation's veterans.

The parade's grand marshal was retired Col. Charles Murray, one of two living Medal of Honor recipients in the Midlands. Soldiers from the 187th Ordnance Battalion and the 282nd Army Band participated in the parade through downtown Columbia.