Thousands of Vets Thanked at America’s Parade

12 Nov
West Point Cadets Honor Our Veterans

West Point Cadets Honor Our Veterans

One of the best things about blogging on NYC parades is being a witness to history and no other parade than the Veterans Day parade shows how America has changed and shaped the world we know today. This is one of my favorite parades to attend. In no other parade will Medal of Honor recipients gather to be honored and thanked for their bravery and heroics during the most difficult of circumstances. There are many Veterans Day parades throughout the country but the one in NYC is the largest. All the armed forces send their reps to march and remind everyone the freedom we all share in this country is not free and these men and women sacrificed their time and energy in the name of country. All sent far away from home to carry out a mission to help preserve freedom here and abroad. Some soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice while the ones that survived are honored on the 11th day of the 11th month keeping the tradition from the end of First World War.

Medal of Honor Recipient Sgt. Leroy Petry

Medal of Honor Recipient Sgt. Leroy Petry

WTC Flag Volunteers

WTC Flag Volunteers

Army Invades the Parade

Army Invades the Parade

While some pundits claim the 20th century was Americas century and this nation is not what once was, I would like to remind you that when a great tragedy strikes like the massive typhoon Yolanda that devastated parts of the Philippines recently, the first nation called upon to assist was the US and its naval strength. Not China, not India, not England, not Russia…the USA baby. The strength of our armed forces defeated fascism, tyranny, oppression and forces determined to suppress the freedom we enjoy today. That same freedom that so many people around the world seek in their own lives and in their own countries. It is with great pride we salute and thank our vets and all their supporters throughout the years in this joyous parade. As usual, there is a ceremony in Madison Square Park where VIPS,  Grand Marshalls, city politicos and of course many veterans assemble just before the parade kicks off from 23rd St.and 5th Ave. up to 47th St. Taps were played and the flag lowered half staff in honor of those fallen heroes. The silence was broken by a 21 gun salute. Walking up to the front of the parade, the anticipation was high and the energy even higher. Those army guys just can’t keep quiet.

Andrew Sisters cover band

Andrew Sisters cover band

Army Recruiters looking for New Recruits

Army Recruiters looking for New Recruits

Brooklyn Firefighters Carrying US Flags

Brooklyn Firefighters Carrying US Flags

The mounted police signaled the start of the parade and were soon followed by local politicians and parade dignitaries. The first of national symbols made it’s way up the parade route in this nationally televised event. At least two dozen proud people carried the flag found in the rubble at the World Trade Center after the attacks on 9/11.  The crowd was treated to a newer rendition of the famous Andrew Sisters “Bugle Boy“, made popular during World War II. Keeping up with the tradition, the cadets from West Point made their appearance with their sharp uniforms soon followed by the new recruits of the armed forces who took their oath by the reviewing stand in front of the landmark New York Public Library. The first of many marching bands came up from Hinsdale, Illinois. They were pretty good.

Medal of Honor Float

Medal of Honor Float

Marine Corp. Marching up 5th Ave.

Marine Corp. Marching up 5th Ave.

Louisburg Kansas Marching Band

Louisburg Kansas Marching Band

A loud and crowd favorite were the members of the Wounded Warrior Project celebrating their 10 years of service for veterans. The special treat rolled up with the float carrying four Medal of Honor recipients. The latest honoree being Leroy Petry was having the most fun with the crowd. NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo led the way for the Marine Corp. Then an energetic marching band from Louisburg, Kansas kept the crowd geared up for more action as the first group of veterans made their way up the parade route.  The Vietnam War vets got a large ovation and thanks from the crowd. It was great to see vets marching up 5th Ave. spotting someone with a Vietnam War vet cap on and just reaching over the iron barricade and hugging each other. Total strangers uniting in a bond only they could understand. The Korean War vets were next up. They were greeted with lots of applause and thanks. This one group has the most Asian representation as Koreans were most helpful in assisting the US in winning that war.

WW2 Vet Ready to Chase Out the Enemy

WW2 Vet Ready to Chase Out the Enemy

Cub Scouts Carrying Banner

Cub Scouts Carrying Banner

Korean Vets waving to the crowd

Korean Vets waving to the crowd

You could not help but feel an immense sense of pride when the so called Greatest Generation appeared. A World War II vet dressed in full uniform led the way with some pep and determination as though he were ready to take on some Nazi soldiers once again. Remaining WWII vets waved to the crowd while a large group of Cub Scouts carried a banner honoring the Greatest Generation through community service. Another notable marching band were from Havre de Grace High School. They just warming things up for the Navy and their PT cruisers. Not too far behind them were the Air Force and the NY Chapter of the Blue Star Moms.  The Coast Guard  showed off one of their smaller patrol boats. Their band played pretty well too. The vet group that got the loudest applause was for the Next Greatest Generation, the Iraq and Afghanistan War vets. They all came ready with their we Are United green sweatshirts. The crowd really got into it when they passed by. The tail end of the parade wrapped up with support organizations like Operation Mend and a newer on Operation Chillout which supports homeless vets. Closing out the parade were the various ROTC organizations throughout the tri-state  area. If there were any doubts about the future of our military, the youth of these ROTC camps wiped them away. They were disciplined and determined and eager to learn. Walking away from the parade always reminds me of how blessed we all are to live in this great country and just how much we each owe to our vets. It was on their backs that the great experiment begun by the Founding Fathers in 1776 continues to thrive and remain a beacon of hope for the world to follow. God Bless America.

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God Bless America

God Bless America

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