SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Veterans groups celebrated a moment of silence Thursday at the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month.

The largest Veterans Day parade in the Bay Area was in San Jose. There were marching bands, and representatives from every branch of the service.

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KCBS’ Mike Coglan Reports:

Chairman Gene Fancchi said that this year’s parade also included a group of Russian veterans from World War II.

“As you can imagine, they’re well into their 80s, and those people, when you watch them march down the street, you can tell those people are so grateful being here to have the freedoms that we have today,” said Fancchi.

Vietnam vet Ron Cook was touched by Thursday’s ceremonies.

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”When they play the national anthem, or raise the flag, my heart bursts for what we have,” said Cook.

”We’ve paid a very high price for freedom, and it’s definitely not free,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, himself an Air Force veteran. “The men and women that have served in our military over the years have given us that freedom that they have paid a very dear price for, in many cases with their own lives.”

Both the mayor’s son and daughter are Air Force pilots on active duty.

Meanwhile, the rigors of serving overseas are posing a unique challenge to women who are seeking help for themselves and their families in greater numbers according to Michael Blecker, executive director of Swords To Plowshares.

KCBS’ Stan Bunger and Susan Leigh Taylor Interview Michael Blecker:

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