Its route was only about six blocks long.

But on Thursday the 29th annual Leonardtown Veterans Day parade reached all the way to Iraq, Kuwait, the Mekong Delta, Pusan, Normandy and many other places where U.S. military men and women have served.

Parade organizers estimated that as many as 5,000 people turned out for the salute to veterans.

With a color guard from the Sheriff's Office leading the way, there were marching bands from all three St. Mary's County public high schools, bagpipers from Prince George's County and Leonardtown High School, a line of classic cars, prayers by the Rev. Jon A. Rozema of Patuxent River Naval Air Station and speeches by county, state and federal elected officials.

There was special recognition for Clancy Lyall, 79, of Lexington Park, who is stepping down after several years as parade chairman. He fought in World War II and Korea during his 27-year military career. He parachuted into Normandy on D-Day with the 101st Airborne Division's Easy Company.

Lyall, who said he will continue to serve on the parade committee, was honored in remarks by Leonardtown Mayor J. Harry Norris III and county commissioners President Thomas F. McKay (R-At Large).

About 90 groups participated in the parade, which passed by the town square, where war monuments occupy ground on which the local militia trained in the 17th century.

Before a wreath-laying ceremony, the service and sacrifice of Maryland veterans was honored in speeches by McKay, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), state Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-St. Mary's) and Capt. Zachary Henry, the commanding officer at Pax River.

Special guests included the family of Army Pfc. Raymond J. Faulstich Jr. of St. Mary's County, who was killed in Iraq in August. Wounded veterans being treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital also took part.

The event is co-sponsored by the town commissioners of Leonardtown and the St. Mary's County commissioners.

An honor guard from the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office leads motorcyclists in the 29th annual Leonardtown Veterans Day parade down Washington Street to the town square. Below right, World War II reenactors, from left, Greg Henesy, Jim Sutton and Rob Wolfe, listen to the playing of the national anthem. Bottom right, the Chopticon High School marching band. About 90 groups participated in the parade, organizers said.Nicholas Whites, a Leonardtown fifth-grader. Parade attendance was estimated at 5,000.