GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — The Gatlinburg-Pittman High School band welcomed veterans, their families, and others to the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday morning. The crowd filled the seats at the Rocky Top Sports World soccer field.

Veteran and WATE 6 On Your Side consumer reporter Don Dare was emcee for the event.

Many veterans were honored and thanked for taking time away from their families to serve the United States of America.

“We talk about war, we talk about conflict, but we don’t talk about individual soldiers,” Lt. Col. Tim Shubert said.

Shubert added that our way of life in America would be different without those men and women who served in peace and times of war.

“People today seem to recognize the sacrifices,” Vietnam veteran Ron Mayes said. “I’m standing here today. I’m no different. There were 550,000 of us and 110,000 of us in the field as combat troops. I fought for my country. I saw my friends die. When I see that flag, it stands for something. It stands for God Bless America.”