INDIANAPOLIS — After a two-year hiatus, Indianapolis’ Veterans Day celebrations were back on Friday. 

The ceremonies were canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and in 2021 because of the weather.

The bands were playing once again on the steps of Indiana’s towering war memorial. The city’s veterans council restarted its annual tradition of honoring those who served. 

“I survived 30 air battles over Germany,” said World War II veteran Bob Pedigo.

Pedigo said he was known as “Red Pedigo” when he served as a bomber during World War II. He recounted that it remains one of the scariest things he’s ever done. 

“It was like going out and standing before the firing squad to be executed,” Pedigo said. “With a little luck they might miss you.”

He is the last of his 10-man crew still living and said today is important for people to remember. 

‘There’s nothing better than being thankful,” Pedigo said. “When you have something to be thankful for — be thankful.”

At today’s ceremony, his service and the service of so many others were remembered along with those whose fate was unknown.

“While we can never fully repay, we must always remember,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Following the ceremony was the return of the parade. Veterans and families alike took in the bands and the floats. 

Dennis Schible, an Army veteran, said he hopes it all bring attention to the growing needs of our country’s bravest. 

“The VA takes care of them but it’s our responsibility to make sure that the veterans know what direction to take,” Schible said.

Some of the veterans told us because our country is so divided, they hope today may serve as a reminder that we’re stronger together.

“I think it’s so important, so important that we get back to the basics of what America really is and that is love for our individuals and our families and for our nation,” said Air Force veteran Randy Gluff.