Troops have been back from Iraq for more than six months and the drawdown in Afghanistan is already underway. To mark the occasion, thousands of Iowa residents recently turned out to pay tribute to America's veterans, both young and old. The state recently hosted a parade in Des Moines to make sure veterans receive the recognition they deserve, the Des Moines Register reports.

The event attracted about 1,000 servicemembers and was organized by a number of local organizations that contributed their time and employees to provide more than 1,000 vets with a pre-parade breakfast. Among those who marched was 65-year-old Daryl Johnson, who served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1971.

"As a Vietnam veteran I certainly want to welcome back veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan," Johnson told the newspaper. "In my mind that's an important thing to do."

Though it is the first parade of its kind in Des Moines, a number of citizens hope it becomes an annual celebration. Such events may help the public better appreciate the contributions made by soldiers. A recent survey from Blue Star Families found 95 percent of military family members feel the public does not understand or appreciate their sacrifice.