PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to party — Philly does it with tradition and enthusiasm. Old City was the site of the annual Independence Day ceremonies on Tuesday.

In front of a flag-waving crowd at Independence Hall, Mayor Jim Kenney gave the city’s Magis Award to Ralph Galati, director of veterans services at St. Joseph’s University. Galati was a POW with Senator John McCain and Admiral James Stockdale.

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“Seeing how they stood tall, how they maintained their dignity, they were determined to return home with honor,” Galati said. “The least we could do was fall into their footsteps.”

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McCain appeared on video.

“I first met Ralph at the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ where we were being held captive during the Vietnam War.”

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After the ceremony, it was the parade, with Tastykake and marching bands and Miss America delighting thousands along Chestnut and Market Streets.