PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Those who served say the Veterans Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh always gives them a special feeling, especially this year.

Marching to the beat of drums with American flags brought back wartime memories for many veterans on Thursday.

READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Conditions Point To 2021 Not Being A White Christmas

“I’m proud as can be. I served in the 82nd Airborne Division. I jumped out of an airplane 27 times like I was nuts or something,” said Michael Murphy, the deputy commander of the Pennsylvania American Legion.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

For Murphy, the memories are crystal clear. He said experiencing the parade is an important time for him.

“We did not have a parade last year because of COVID. We’re still in a COVID situation, of course, but we need to get out and we need to socialize with each other as veterans,” Murphy said.

READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Investigating Threats Made Towards Numerous School Campuses

Murphy said it gives him a chance to exchange stories and interact with others who served. It also allows him to befriend veterans who might not have it so easy.

“I just think that it’s important to our own well-being that we see each other and talk to each other,” Murphy said.

Murphy isn’t the only one who is trying to look after fellow veterans. Nancy Hoffman with Gold Star Mothers helps take care of Gold Star families.

“I think our veterans, more so than anything after Afghanistan, need to know that they are loved and appreciated and honored,” Hoffman said.

MORE NEWS: Holiday Shopping Tips: Identifying And Avoiding Online Shopping Scams

On this Veterans Day, our heroes said to take the time to think about the sacrifices that have been made and don’t take your freedoms for granted.