CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of veterans gathered at Soldier Field Thursday to remember their fallen brothers and sisters and to recognize the men and women who are serving around the world.

They came from across the Chicago area: veterans from every branch of the military, representing U.S. conflicts as far back as World War II.

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Irv Abramson served in that war, but he says it wasn’t until after a recent trip to the World War II memorial that he and his comrades finally received the welcome home they deserved.

“What a change from our original return home over 60 years ago. It was a trip never to be forgotten,” he said.

Also never to be forgotten: the sacrifice made by so many service men and women.

“We know we live in a society, in a country, that we’re very privileged to live in,” Mayor Daley said. “I thank you for your service. I thank you for your commitment to the United States of America, and to another generation.”

For some of the vets, it was humbling to be honored so publicly.

“Sometimes I feel I’m getting more credit than I deserve,” World War II vet Ed Zasadil.

For others, the Veterans Day ceremony brought back their desire to serve.

“If I could go back today, I’d go back today,” Korean War veteran Richard Morbidoni said.

Daley also encouraged veterans to apply for the Chicago Police Department exam, because he thinks they are just the kind of men and women the city could use on the force.

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