Thousands joined with serving soldiers, cadets and veterans at an Armed Forces Day celebration in South Shields on Sunday morning.
There was a military parade and inspection of the troops.
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The Black Cats will play next season in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League.
Sunderland lost 1-nil at home to Bournemouth and Hull's draw at Southampton meant the Black Cats drop into the Championship.
More public support is expected for the riders as they take on stage 2.