WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Town of West Springfield celebrated those who’ve served our country with a parade and ceremony Friday.

Veteran Mustafa Thompson of the West Springfield Veteran Advisory Board told 22News, “Especially in today’s society, what’s going on in the world right now, this parade and events like it allow the community to come together. It allows us to display what we can do when we truly come together and it brings comradery in the community.”

There was clear excitement among the local sports teams and school marching bands, preparing to walk down the streets of West Springfield. Thompson says the event functions as a teaching event for these kids.

“It’s an outstanding opportunity for the youth to actually see, veteran and service members aren’t in some far off land, that veterans and service members are our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles and even our friends for some of them,” said Thompson.

The West Springfield community cheering their thanks along the parade route. A local cadet based out of Amherst says her and her fellow service members appreciate the outpouring of support for communities like West Springfield.

“It’s an honor, honestly. I’ve only been in a short amount of time but I plan to make this a life long career but I really pay tribute to those that have come before and I think its a great honor honestly,” said Shanon Hilario, Cadet of the Minutemen Battalion.