LAFAYETTE — The City of Lafayette kicked off the holiday season with the Sonic Christmas parade.
Hundreds lined the streets as members of the military lead the parade.
"Had it not been for us and these guys with Purple Hearts, there may not even be a Christmas parade going on," said Retired U.S. Sergeant Major Marty Dear.
Dear says his favorite part is volunteering.
"[My favorite part is] meeting the older guys that paved the way for us that made it a lot easier for us to serve in the military," said Dear.
Some kids were also part of the lineup. Caleb and Connor Stevens say their favorite was throwing the candy. But, they knew why veterans were the parade's honorees.
"He made us be free," said Connor.
Connor is referring to their grandfather, Purple Heart recipient Ronald Crowley.
"It's exhilarating to have all these people clap. It almost brings a tear to your eye," said Crowley. "All the sacrifice that we put forward to make America great, and that's for all veterans."
Some participants say the event also pays tribute to the ones who can't enjoy it.
"It's all about giving, and we, as veterans, have truly given every thing that we have," said Crowley. "This is also for our MIAs and POWs who may never ever see a Christmas."