For more than two centuries the United States Marine Corps have defended this country. But as they were celebrating victories past, they couldn't help but reflect on the men and women who are currently fighting overseas.
"We have young men and women who are committed to doing the bidding of our government," said Douglas Williams of the Michigan Marine Corps league. " We must support them in all cases. To say we'd do otherwise is wrong."
Veterans say Friday's celebration reflected their pride and commitment, some say can't be understood unless you've served.
It's something that sticks with Sergeant Conrad Taschner who was one of thousands of soldiers to storm the sands of Iwo Jima more than 60 years ago.
"When I hit the beach, I was scared, very scared," he said. "In the first hour of Iwo Jima we lost more than 2,000 men. God was looking over me, or I wouldn't be here today."
Soldiers say those types of stories are invaluable to this country's history, which is why they choose to pass them along for generations.
"If kids don't understand the sacrifices it took to get us here now, how can they ever honestly appreciate the freedoms that we have," said retired Major General Bradley M. Lott.
Veterans encourage all Americans to support the troops whether or not you agree with the war in Iraq.