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America Honors Its Veterans In Grand Style

12 Nov

Bringing Out the Flags Proudly

The largest Veterans Day parade in the country marched up the parade route on 5th Ave. with plenty of marching bands and proud veterans and their families watching. Happy faces were seen all around as the storied parade returned after Covid restrictions forced the in person parade to be cancelled last year. Parade ceremonies were held by the Eternal Light monument in Madison Square Park before the grand parade kicked off. Originally celebrated as Armistice Day, the recognized date when World War 1 ended, the Veterans Day parade recognizes and celebrates all those that served in the military forces. Many people fervently believe that without these sacrifices made, we would not enjoy the freedoms we now enjoy. Emphasis was made to provide jobs and opportunities for current Vets to avoid the perils of homelessness.

Honoring Our Heroes At the Eternal Light Memorial
Giving Thanks For the Sacrifices Made
Brigadier General George B Rowell IV from the Marine Corp.

The five branches of the Armed Services sent representatives of their group to proudly walk up the parade route. This year the Air Force was recognized for all their duty and dedication to our country. Parade Grand Marshall Pararescue Air Force retired Master Sergeant Kevin Carrick from Long Island, NY was grateful to be part of the big event. The Air Force Honor Guard Marching Band made their way up the parade route as the first of the military bands. Although this years parade didn’t have as many High School Marching Bands as in previous years, the Mineola HS Mustangs surely made some sweet noise and were a big hit.

Mineola Mustangs Rock 5th Ave.
Air Force Leading the Way

The parade is big on providing recognition to those organizations that give support to our veterans. Some of the biggest groups are The Wounded Warrior Project and Operation Mend which help heal veterans from wounds both seen and unseen. There’s also a section that is dedicated to a specific time frame to help recapture a vintage World War 1 look. Recognition is always given to the alliance between the American and French forces to help fight for peace and freedom. A loud brass and drum sound could be heard from a distance. A chorus of shouts and marching cadence gave it away that the Army was on its way. Their band took no prisoners and was a highlight of the parade.

Army Marching Band Sets the Tone
Jewels of the Parade from the Wounded Warrior Project
Reenacting World War 1 Army soldiers

The highlight of the parade is always the vets themselves. Many ride on floats while others march up the parade route. Plenty of thank you can be heard from the crowd while the marchers take it all in and thank them for thanking them. It’s just a great moment to be a part of and really makes you feel patriotic. The remaining World War 2 vets get the biggest applaud as most of them are in their 90s now and can still get dressed in uniform and stand proudly for their effort and contribution. Korean and Vietnam vets shared the spotlight this year. Another loud brass band was coming up the parade route. At the end of the group of marchers was a small naval vessel which could only mean one thing….here comes the Navy. Their marching band from Philadelphia had a true pure sound and got the crowd worked up in a patriotic theme. This was truly a great moment to experience. In typical New York fashion, no parade can be a true NY parade without a pipes and drum band and The Sword of Light group answered that call. The parade lets the onlookers know that our future is in good hands with Junior ROTC bands from the area marching up. I left the parade feeling even more proud and patriotic and glad to say yes indeed…America…Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Hurah

Above collage photos courtesy of Aluche Events

Keeping America Strong

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