Thousands gathered across Southern California to celebrate Veteran’s Day on Friday.

The 19th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade kicked off in the San Fernando Valley with attendees enjoying the opportunity to show their support and gratitude for all dedicated service women and men.

Attendees lined the streets of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, with many keeping loved ones in their thoughts. 

“Especially the Vietnam veterans, when they came home, they weren’t honored,” Rose Curiel, whose husband is a veteran, tells KTLA’s Rachel Menitoff. “So this is beautiful that we’re doing this.”

  • L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti greets locals at an annual Veteran's Day parade in the San Fernando Valley on Nov. 11, 2022. (KTLA)
  • Locals enjoying the annual Veteran's Day parade in San Fernando Valley on Nov. 11, 2022.
  • Rock legend Gene Simmons greeting veterans at Rock & Brews on Nov. 11, 2022.
  • Servicemembers enjoying a special day with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Nov. 11, 2022.
  • Locals enjoying the annual Veteran's Day parade in San Fernando Valley on Nov. 11, 2022.

The Los Angeles Dodgers hosted 500 active duty service members and their families for a special Veteran’s Day event on Friday.

“Just opening the field to all of these veterans is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Chris Gonzales, a Marine Corp. veteran.

Gonzales enjoyed some batting practice with his son on the Dodgers field.

Service members also enjoyed a question-and-answer session with longtime Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes and first baseman Max Muncy.

In El Segundo, rock and roll legend Gene Simmons greeted veterans dining at Rock & Brews while serving them complimentary meals.

“What it’s really about is honoring those who actually served,” said Simmons. “These are the real heroes. You may not see their capes, but they’re all wearing one. These are the real vets that make America possible.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is also a Navy veteran, says in addition to these celebrations, the city is working to better assist people returning home from their service. 

“Here in Los Angeles, we serve at higher levels than anywhere in the U.S.,” said Garcetti. “I think people don’t think of L.A. as a military town but it really is. It might be your neighbor, it might be your coworker, they are all around us.”

U.S. Marine Corp. veteran Eriq Adame said he felt embraced by the community.

“It’s just nice seeing the community come together to be able to do that,” said Adame. “It’s cool seeing the past and the present and seeing the future. So seeing the ROTC out here as well, I’m sure they are going to serve one day.”

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso was also at the parade and told KTLA he is thinking about his father who served as a Navy aviator. 

The festivities continued into the night at Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima where folks can enjoy a weekend-long carnival.