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Military

San Diego Honors Veterans At Events Throughout The County

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WWII Veteran Receives Bronze Star at Veterans Day Parade

The nation's military veterans were honored at events around San Diego County today, including parades and a ceremony atop the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

Retired Marine Col. Jay Vargas, a Medal of Honor recipient, told Fox5 San Diego that those who served in the armed forces made tremendous sacrifices.

"We'll never forget our men and women who are on active duty today or even the veterans who have served in the past, because they have given so much to us," Vargas said.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, then-Maj. Vargas showed "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" during a three-day firefight in 1968 in Vietnam, despite suffering from multiple wounds.

Former San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson, the ex-California governor and a U.S. senator who served in the Marine Corps, introduced Vargas and called him a hero.

San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, retiring fire Chief Javier Mainar and incoming fire Chief Brian Fennessy also attended the ceremony.

Other events around the region included the annual San Diego Veterans Day Parade along the downtown waterfront — which celebrated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, a parade in Fallbrook, ceremonies at the El Cajon Veterans Memorial and a remembrance in San Marcos of armed forces members who fought in Korea.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day was first declared in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to honor all soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who served the nation. The holiday replaced what had been known as Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I.