Tag Archives: Veterans Day Parade

America Celebrates It’s Vets In Grand New York Style

13 Nov
IMG_9625

Flags of Honor

     On the coldest day of the year so far, the 98th NYC Veteran’s Day Parade was getting prepped with ceremonies and laying of the wreaths at Madison Square Park on 23rd St. and Madison Ave. This is the largest Veteran’s Day Parade in the country and always brings out the best in our Armed Forces and all the people and organizations that support our Vets. It’s the culmination of a week long celebration of Veteran’s Week.  After the 21 gun salute at the Eternal Light Flagstaff at Madison Square Park, marchers gathered on 5th Ave. to get ready for a grand celebration. With temperatures still in the 20s at the start of the parade, there was still a large crowd on the parade route waiting for their heroes to arrive. As much as I wanted to complain about the cold weather, I reminded myself how some of the very people being honored endured much harsher elements far from home to defend our freedom and our way of life. So I just sucked it up and got excited when I saw one of the first groups marching up the parade route. A sacred relic recovered after the 9/11 attack was prominently displayed by the Ground Zero Flag Group with everyone applauding as they marched up chanting USA…USA..USA. The applaud kept going as Grand Marshall Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon and Korean War veteran waved to the crowd from the convertible. Parade organizers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the US entry into WW1  with a group replicating marching soldiers. It was nice but didn’t have horses that played a huge role in military efforts in that War.

IMG_9487

Buzz Aldrich Waving To the Crowd

IMG_9503

WW1 Army Soldiers ready to serve

IMG_9577

Air Force Honor Guard

     All the US military forces send Honor Guards, marching bands and junior corp groups as a show of force and to honor vets with dignity. The first group to land was the Air Force Honor Guard with their sharp blue uniforms and elite marching band. They got the crowd worked up as they made their way to the reviewing stand in front of the New York Public Library on 41st St. The New York City Veteran’s Day Parade is also a chance for marching bands across the country to show off their tunes. One of the better bands to arrive came from Hinsdale, Illinois with their devil red uniforms. The first of the floats with our beloved vets arrived with WW2 fighters waving to the crowd. They were soon followed by the Daughters of the American Revolution float and the Korean War vets float. One of the loudest groups emerged with the Vietnam Vets and the Iraqi/Afghanistan Vets kicking up some dirt. Support groups raised awareness about their efforts to help vets integrate back into the workforce or continue to get assistance for every aspect of life.  The Wounded Warrior Project continues to have the largest representation at the parade. Another marching band from Marion, North Carolina made its way up the parade route.  McDowell HS Marching Band got the crowd worked up for the next Armed Forces band. The 77th Sustainable Army Brigade Marching Band played the traditional Army song. The Marine Corp. are too consumed with military protocol to have a marching band but Maury HS Commodores had their back.

IMG_9681

WW2 Vets Being Honored

IMG_9898

Go Navy

IMG_9941

Coast Guard Marching Up 5th Ave.

 

     This year’s most impressive band had to be the Navy with members of the USS Hue City coming on board the parade route with lots of energy. The lead group got into it more when I yelled out Go Navy. Beat Army, referring to the classic annual football game to close out the season. They had a great group and were soon followed by the Coast Guard with their PT boat and marching band. Local colleges and universities sent their reps to help honor the vets. Showing the off the best float was the rocking Fairleigh Dickinson University  with Coyote Love having some fun with the crowd. They were awesome. It was a great parade in honor of the men and women that sacrificed so much to help make the US safe. Thank You.

 

IMG_9459

Thanks For Your Sacrifice Vets!!

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.

veterans13 012 veterans13 016 veterans13 023 veterans13 065 veterans13 084 veterans13 091 veterans13 096 veterans13 101 veterans13 110 veterans13 115 veterans13 117 veterans13 133 veterans13 158 veterans13 167 veterans13 170 veterans13 175 veterans13 176 veterans13 181 veterans13 196 veterans13 212 veterans13 215 veterans13 224 veterans13 228 veterans13 229 veterans13 232 veterans13 249 veterans13 252 veterans13 255 veterans13 265 veterans13 268 veterans13 275 veterans13 305 veterans13 306 veterans13 315 veterans13 348 veterans13 357 veterans13 364 veterans13 368 veterans13 373 veterans13 378 veterans13 383 veterans13 387 veterans13 388 veterans13 391 veterans13 396 veterans13 402 veterans13 404 veterans13 407 veterans13 410 veterans13 411 veterans13 415 veterans13 417 veterans13 423 veterans13 426 veterans13 427 veterans13 433 veterans13 449 veterans13 456 veterans13 468 veterans13 478 veterans13 480 veterans13 486

God Bless America

God Bless America

Sandy Can’t Stop the Greatest Generation

14 Nov

     

     New Yorkers have always had a tough as nails reputation. That take no bull attitude has always set us apart from any other great city in this nation. New Yorkers have been through plenty of adversity throughout the years and the storm of the century just added to the list. Yes, many Staten Islanders are suffering and many that live by the coastal sections lost everything. Sandy was the Big One people had been talking all about for years and she hit us hard. But catastrophic events like this help bring people together not tear them apart.  Nearly two weeks after Sandy wrecked havoc in New York and New Jersey, people were ready to cheer about something as the 93rd edition of the largest Veteran’s Day Parade in the country was set to kick off at the start of the parade route on 23rd St. and 5th Ave. This year’s Grand Marshall was no other than the  Honorable former Mayor Ed Koch.   Who else can have a bridge named after him while he’s still alive. Mayor Koch is about as New York as you can get. After the Honorable current Mayor Bloomberg made his way up the parade route to the cheers of the crowd, the fun really started for all those waiting on a warm Sunday afternoon on 5th Ave.

   

   

      This year, parade organizers decided to honor the Navajo Code Talkers who were so instrumental in WWII.  The Navajo Code Talkers were young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of WWll. “At a time when America’s best known cryptographers were falling short, these modest sheepherders and farmers were able to fashion the most ingenious and successful codes in military history. They drew upon their proud warrior tradition to brave the dense jungles of Guadalcanal and the exposed beachheads of Iwo Jima,” according to their website. Another group that was honored were the service dogs of many breeds all throughout the many wars this country has been involved in.   The most recent military dog to be honored will be Cairo, a Belgian Malinois, who parachuted with the Navy SEAL team into the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan where he alerted his companions to the movements of people around the compound. His work aided in the killing of the notorious terrorist.

     

     The first of the Armed Forces to march their way up the parade route was the Army Battalion soon followed by the Marine Corps. Good thing they were a good distance apart; they never have anything good to say about each other. Veteran’s Day Parade draws some of the better bands in the country to show off their skills and the Prospect Marching Knights from Mount Prospect, Illinois got the crowd really worked up. One of largest participants with over 700 marchers were the Wounded Warrior Project carrying the largest American flag of the parade. Their float had a simple motto: Mission: to honor and empower wounded warriors. Then the part that everyone waited for…a chance to thank and praise the Veterans. The first group was part of the Greatest Generation from World War II. School aged children carried large pictures of veterans in honor of the Spirit of ’45. A float carried some of the remaining WWII vets as they waved to the applauding crowd. The next group of vets came from the Korean War and they were accompanied by Korean veterans that served. Even a group of Korean marchers and dancers helped keep the celebration moving in high gear. In between groups of vets came more Armed Forces as the Navy and Air Force marched without so much as a grin but the crowd just loved it. The next group of vets were from the Vietnam War. The crowd gave them the applause and honor they didn’t get when they returned from half way around the globe back in the 70s when Nixon ended the war. The show stealer this year surprisingly had to be the  Coast Guard. Their marching band and uniforms were the envy of the parade.  They were warming things up for the last group of vets known as the Next Greatest Generation from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and yes they were by far the loudest.  The great work of Operation Mend was on display for all to see. This group helps mend soldiers burned in the line of duty. The crowd was treated to a trio of  lively USO singers. Every year a different band is requested to play at the parade by Mayor Bloomberg and this years group came in from Portsmouth in the UK.  They were really good.

     

     This year, the veterans asked people to bring coats and other clothing to be donated to the people most affected by the devastating storm Sandy. Plenty of people I know were inconvenienced with the loss of power or having to wait long hours to get gasoline. But when you measure that against what some of these men and women went through in the battlefields in Europe, or in Korea or Vietnam or in the deserts of Iraq or Afghanistan, it really pales in comparison. These men and women were along way from home never knowing if they would ever come back; many miles away to protect our freedom from the forces that wish to destroy it. Long live the red, white and blue.

A Long Line of Heroes Saluted on Veteran’s Day

14 Nov


    

American pride was evident everywhere one looked at the opening ceremony of the 92nd annual Veteran’s Day Parade in Madison Square Park. Marching bands were tuning up, highly decorated officers were huddling, veterans from different war eras greeted each like long time friends do. Rachel and I couldn’t help but get caught up in all the excitement especially when celebrity Cuba Gooding Jr. appeared and met with the surviving Tuskegee Airmen and the actors from Off Broadway hit Black Angels Over Tuskegee. The much highly anticipated George Lucas film “Red Tails” starring Mr. Gooding is due for release January 2oth.  The ceremony got under way and as usual US Senator Chuck Schumer got the crowd all riled up especially with some good news of benefit for our veterans. A VIP that commanded the respect and attention of all those present was retired General David H. Petraeus, US Army and  current Director of the CIA.  The Honorable Mayor Bloomberg and Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations made some inspirational remarks of the days’ meaning for our veterans.  Closing the ceremony out was a 21 gun salute for those fallen heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation and a playing of taps.  Rachel and I made our way on to the parade route on 5th Ave. and 26th St. and then the fun really started.

     

  With over 25,000 marchers including 22 marching bands from all over the country, representatives from all our our Armed Forces, cadets and JROTC from our area, civic and youth groups and of course all the US Veterans Groups promised to make this the largest and best Veterans parade in America.  The mounted police rode up 5th Ave. signaling the start of the parade with this years lead band from Nelson County HS soon followed by the NYPD band and the FDNY Pipes and Drum band.  Right after them rolled up a huge statue named “de Oppresso Liber” translated meaning “Free the Oppressed”. Later that day at a separate ceremony Vice President Joe Biden dedicated the Special Forces statue featuring a soldier on a mountain horse riding  into combat in Afghanistan. Talk about back to the future. Horses were not used in war since World War I. The next part of the parade was my personal favorite. The parade got stalled abit and in front of me was a convertible Cadillac with none other than Seargant Dakota Meyer, the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam Era. If you want to see what a real hero looks like just take a look. He got out of the car and we shook hands. I thanked him for his heroics and for representing what it means to come from the home of the brave. He then went and shook hands with the crowd until the parade started moving again. Earlier in the ceremony at Madison Square Park, Seargant Meyer had the opportunity to greet the oldest receipient of the Medal of Honor, Nicholas Oresko,who at 94 years young, insisted on meeting the young hero. It was a special moment for both of them as it was for those who saw it. Only in NY.

       

     The parade picked up when the US Army 2nd Battalion 309th Regiment marched up 5th Ave followed by the Seneca East HS Marching band from Attica,Ohio. Getting the crowd worked up were the US Marine Corp. 6th Communication Battalion marching just ahead of energetic Edina HS Marching Band from Minnesota. The first veteran marchers were from the Korean War. In unison with them were Korean military veterans showing off banners of alliance as they stood strong with our vets. Two really dynamic bands from Centaurus HS of Lafayette, Colorado and Maastricht Scoutinband from the Netherlands introduced the World War II veterans while a float showing the iconic symbol of a sailor kissing a woman after victory was declared were followed by a group of children holding pictures of fallen heroes.  A group of veterans that got a loud round of applause were our Vietnam veterans.  Close behind them were enthusiastic East Limestone HS Band from Athens, Alabama.  I’m glad there was a considerable amount of time and distance between when Army marched and when the Navy band appeared.  Those two might have gone at it if they were any closer. Check out an Army/Navy football game live and you’ll know what I mean. There really is no other college football game like it in the country.  Some really great marching bands kept the celebration going including the Mountain Ridge HS from Frostburg, Maryland, Maury HS Marching Band from Norfolk, Virginia and Pickerington HS Band from Ohio.

            

            

     Never too late for the party came flying in was the US Air Force 328th Airlift Squadron and the Combat Training Squadron with their field support team soon followed by the Valley Forge  Military Academy and College. A crowd favorite were the Las Vegas Youth Entertainers singing it up for the crowd. Who knows if the next star on American Idol or X Factor were on that float. Yes, they were that good. Another crowd pleaser were the next group of veterans aptly names “The New Greatest Generation“. the Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans. They have today’s technology to help spread the word and organize like no other group has before them. They can mobilize and educate groups around them with quickness and ease much like how they learned in the battlefield. I was taking in their whole march with pride and it was kicked up a notch higher when an African American marcher spotted a white American Korean army vet watching the parade and they both starting singing the army dogface soilder song.  Another time in our nation’s history and that might not have ever happened.  Closing out the proud display of marching bands were the Lebanon HS Band from Pennsylvania, New Amsterdam  HS Band from New York, and Harrisonburg HS Band from Virginia.

           

     Rachel and I met up towards the end of the parade and took in all the incredible things we witnessed. With all the bickering and anger going on around in DC and other parts of the country, it was a welcome relief to see part of the greatness this nation is. The veterans basked in the glory of knowing this was their day to shine. Much of the crowd was heard over and over saying thank you to these brave men and women who made a huge sacrifice to serve for their country when called upon.  It was also a day to honor all the support groups that aid and assist our veterans when they come back home. At the morning ceremony I saw a Blue Star Mother become emotional remembering a loved one only to be held and consoled by the daughter of a Tuskagee Airman. Later on Rachel saw members of the Operation Mend group get some encouragement from Sopranos star Tony Sirico. Think she overheard him telling a recovering Marine  something along the lines of ..you better get better or else ..you don’t wanna know.  One of the biggest support groups by far was the Wounded Warrior Project, helping soilders in the transition from service to civilian life. Chase Bank was promoting their 100,000 Jobs Mission program that began in March and is helping to promote the idea with other like minded companies. One of the nicest things to see in the parade was the involvement of our youth from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to the JROTCs  and especially watching the Francis Lewis HS Army JROTC march with precision. If this any indication of what America’s military future looks like, rest assured we are in good hands.

    

Stars and Stripes Forever

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-702935

%d bloggers like this: