MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) — Over 3,000 veterans call Hamblen County home and the rain didn’t hold anyone back from celebrating them in Morristown Friday night.

“We thank them for all that they have done,” Heather Miller said.

“Veterans Day is an important day for me because a lot of my family was in the military,” William Gillard said. “I have cousins that were in the Army, many uncles in the Navy. I had one uncle in the Marines and my grandfather was a senior master chief in the Navy.”

David Rutherford served in the Air Force. He said, “It (the parade) was a good turnout for a rainy day. I’ve marched in hundreds of parades,” he said. “I used to march in the Knoxville Veterans Day parade. Marched for 30 years straight then I moved to Morristown and picked up the baton here.”

Braylen Heckathorn marched in the parade with his fellow bandmates from Morristown-West High School and for him, it was a privilege.

“We had another parade, but it wasn’t anything like this,” he said. “It really does make me proud to be an American and to have the freedoms that we have.”

“My time in the military is something I’ll never forget,” Gillard said. “And I recommend everybody to spend some time in the military. It gives you a chance to create bonds with people from different walks of life you’d never expect to meet.”

“I’m just proud to be a veteran, proud to be an American, and glad to see this kind of a turnout on Veterans Day,” Rutherford added.

After the parade, many gathered for a brief ceremony at the Veterans’ Memorial outside the Hamblen County Courthouse.

Larry Evon, who was drafted into the Army to fight in Vietnam, gave the keynote speech and had one simple message.

“Support your veterans. They’re always in need,” he said. “They hide it, we all hide it, and at times it comes out and we need help.”