FORT MITCHELL, KY (FOX19) - Marching bands and floats were part of the parade in Fort Mitchell Monday, but they were nowhere near the main attraction.
The city invited members of the Army's Bravo Company 2-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment, which is part of the 82nd Airborne based at Fort Bragg, NC.
The troopers who made the trip were greeted with nothing short of a hero's welcome.
They were given the title of Grand Marshal of the parade, which runs down part of Dixie Highway and curves toward Beechwood school's campus.
The normal sight of kids and stars and stripes was there, but so was a scene which played out over and over again, of soldiers being greeted with handshakes, high fives, and hugs, most times from complete strangers along the parade route.
The welcome was so warm because since 2004, the city of Fort Mitchell has taken the men of Bravo Company 2-504 under its wing. Volunteers have supported the troopers with handmade cards from Beechwood students, and care packages filled with all the small treats that make such a big difference to soldiers in places like Iraq, which is where the regiment most recently was deployed.
They've been back for almost a year now, but many had never visited Northern Kentucky, so to meet the people and see the gratitude on the faces of so many people of all ages, was overwhelming to the soldiers.
Sgt. Josh Howe is from Michigan, and said he's heard other troops say they sometimes feel like rock stars, especially on days like this when little kids run up to them, and veterans of wars decades ago stop, salute, and thank them for their service.
The crowd waved, cheered, and some cried as they were given the chance not everyone gets, to see in person, and so visibly thank the men for the sacrifice they make for their country.