WDBJ7 -

American flags of all sizes waved along the streets of Bedford Saturday as a patriotic motorcade made its way through Centertown.

"I thought it was awesome," said Carrie Perry, a Bedford resident who attended Saturday's parade.  "I loved seeing the old costumes and the old vehicles restored.  I thought it was awesome."

The marching bands and decorated floats attracted crowds from all over the country.

Hope Bradshaw and her husband drove from Suffolk to see Friday's ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial.  They stayed an extra night to watch Saturday's parade.

"I wanted to have a chance to talk with some of the World War II veterans and hear their stories," Bradshaw said.

Veterans lined the parade route and even rode through on buses.  A grateful community cheered as they passed by.

"I thought this was done very well," said Tim Whalen, a parade spectator from Forest.  "I think we need to continue to do this throughout the years, to make sure the country understands the importance of our freedom."

The parade was organized by the National D-Day Memorial, as part of a three-day series of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing at Normandy.

"We wanted to pull out all the stops for our veterans and make this an unforgettable time for them," said D-Day Memorial president, April Cheek-Messier.  "We also wanted to give the public at large as many opportunities as possible to meet our veterans and say thank you."

More than 300 D-Day veterans came to Bedford for this weekend's commemorations.

Such a large gathering of Normandy survivors may never happen in this town again, which is why so many turned out at this gathering for a final salute.

"For us to be able to celebrate them today was extra special," said Perry.