Tag Archives: veterans

America Honors Its Heroes On Centennial Mark of End of WW1

12 Nov

 

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Raise Our Flags Up High

     The red carpet was rolled out for the thousands of Veterans being honored in the annual Veterans Day Parade up 5th Ave. The event coincides with Armistice Day which remembers the end of Word War 1 and is a National Holiday for many of our Allies. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of an armistice between the Allies and Germany to cease any further hostilities. Many Veterans Day events go on throughout the country but the NYC Veterans Day Parade is the largest in the country. And New York knows how to throw a celebration. Before the parade kicks off, festivities are held in Madison Square Park and at 11:11 a 21 gun salute is made in honor of all those servicemen and women that made the ultimate sacrifice.  The parade kicked off with lots of anticipation as floats and marchers were eager for the celebration to get started and what a celebration it was.

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Honorary Lead Band

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World War 1 Soldiers On a Mission

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French Soldiers Ready For Action

     Some great marching bands from all over the country were invited to participate in the parade. The honorary lead band came in from Valley Forge with some snazzy uniforms. Soldiers dressed in WW1 uniforms marched up the parade route soon followed by their French counterparts. They got the crowd worked up for a great parade.   Leading the Armed Forces were the West Point Cadets with a group honoring the memory of the 77th Sustainment Brigade which drafted men mostly from New York City to fight in WW1 in France. One of the most anticipated groups followed the Army section of the parade. Floats carrying WW2 vets arrived with all revelers on the parade route stopping to applaud the remaining members of The Greatest Generation. It was great to see people bring in photos of loved ones to be a part of the event.

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World War 2 Vet Enjoying the Attention

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Grateful Revelers

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Army Band Ready to Play

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West Point Cadets Have the Best Uniforms

 

     Kicking off he many great marching bands from across the country were the Seaman High School Marching Band from Topeka, Kansas. They were pretty good. They got things warmed up for the Marine Corp and their group. They have no bands. It’s just business with the Marines. They made their way through for the Vietnam vets. They got lots of love from the crowd with many yelling out Welcome Home. A reception they did not get at the end of the Vietnam War. Another marching band from Grayslake Illinois made quite an impression. The Korean Vets group has always been inclusive of many of the Koreans that fought in the first of the Cold Wars.

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Marine Corp Always the First in Action 

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Vietnam Vets Enjoying the Moment

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Golden Lions Brings It

 

     Navy made their way up the parade route with lots of fanfare and lots of love from the crowd.  Heard a few folks yell out Beat Army in anticipation of the Rivalry football game coming up later on this month. But for today, Army and Navy got along.  Another marching band from Maryville Missouri did pretty good. Even though the Gahanna Lincoln Golden Lions from Ohio kicked it up a notch better. Air Force arrived right on schedule and was well received by the crowd. One of the best bands of the day came in from Towson University in Maryland. They stole the show. The more tech savvy vets arrived with the Iraq and Afghanistan War group. As always they were loud and proud.

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Korean Vet Getting Ready

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Navy Bearing Flags 

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The Smartest Vets

     Plenty of support groups were there to raise awareness of their services. Most people know of the Wounded Warrior Project and Operation Mend but service dogs were highlighted and several corporate sponsors offering employment opportunities to Veterans.   Closing out the parade were several groups of Vets bearing signs for peace not war and requests for more money for Veterans not Nukes. These are the groups that capture the spirit of the day. Peace on Armistice Day. Our military has defended our freedom from tyranny, monarchs, fascists, terrorists and is the best fighting force the world has ever scene. It is the strength of the Armed Forces that helps keep the peace all throughout the planet. And we got there is thanks to all the service men and woman that sacrificed their time and more for love of country. Thank you Vets for defending our Freedom and our beloved nation.

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Carrying Old Glory With Pride and Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veterans Honored at America’s Parade

12 Nov
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Flags of the Armed Forces

One of the best parades the city has is the annual Veteran’s Day parade where servicemen and women are remembered for all they endured to defend our freedom and preserve our nation from threats outside and within our great nation.  Since the first parade in 1919, at the end of World War 1,  revelers lined up the parade route on 5th Ave. to cheer on and thank the proud vets and current military personnel. You couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for the largest event in the country to honor our vets. Before the parade though, there is a gathering at Madison Square Park where vets are honored and the laying of the wreaths at The Heroes Monument occurs with a 21 gun salute at exactly 11:11 am. The parade started right after that with a convoy of loud motorcycles from vets getting everyone ready for what would be a  memorable day for all. As usual the NYPD mounted police let everyone know the first group was nearby with the  NYPD Marching Band getting things worked up for the crowd. Not to be outdone, the FDNY Pipes and Drum Band made their grand entrance.  They’re always in competition.  Just like this year’s Presidential election, it was a close call to see which one played better. Although Blue was the favorite, looks like Red scored the most points.

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NYPD Det. Nelson Vegara, FDNY Chief Duggan and Port Authority COO Stephanie Dawson

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West Point Cadets

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Proudly Carrying the Stars and Stripes

One part of the parade that always gets to me is when the World Trade Center flag is displayed. With all the horrors that occurred  on 9/11, the Stars and Stripes was preserved through all the rubble.  This years Grand Marshalls knew from first hand experience about 9/11 as all the three were First Responders and eventually served in the Invasions of Iraq and  Afghanistan.  Col. US Army and NY Port Authority Commanding Officer Stephanie Dawson, FDNY Battalion Chief and US Army Vet  Joseph Duggan Jr, and NYPD Detective and Marine Corp Vet Nelson Vergara  were all honored for their bravery and commitment to serving our city and country. Soon after them was the first group of the four major Armed Forces, the Army. They were well represented with the West Point Cadets and the 42nd Infantry Division and their marching bands. With their sharp uniforms and precision marching, they made quite an impression . Several marching bands from across the country made the trip to the Big Apple, many for the first time ever. One of the more notable High School marching Bands came from Sapula, Oklahoma. They were very good.

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One of the better marching bands

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Marine Corp. leading the way

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Naval Officers in Charge

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Coast Guards Give the OK

Along with vets and current military personnel are the groups that help support them. Operation Mend was one of the first of these groups that helps vets get back to normal life after serving our country. Probably the biggest group is the Wounded Warriors Project and their huge volunteer support group. Another High School band that made some nice sounds came from Inman, South Carolina. They led the way for another branch of our Armed Services, the Marine Corp. No marching bands from the Marine Corp…they mean business. A tribute to the USS Iwo Jima from the powerful Navy was next up along with a great marching band that came down from Massachusetts to show the other bands how it’s done. The High School Marching band that came the furthest was from Spokane Washington in the West Valley HS MB. They played their little hearts out. The last of the Armed Forces to march was the Coast Guard. They brought their best band and some firepower. Hard to tell which of the armed forces had the best display and marching bands. They were all excellent.

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WW2 Vet Having Some Fun

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Dad would have been proud

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Maggie brought her Dad with her

 

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Take Me Home Huey Project

The part that everyone had been waiting for finally arrived, the display of our beloved vets. The first being the remaining World War 2 Vets… or as Tom Brokaw brilliantly wrote about, the Greatest Generation. One of the happiest WW2 vets was Luke G proudly displaying a sign that he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and is 92 years young. God bless. What was more touching though were the children of deceased vets that brought their father’s pictures with them to the parade.  Folks like Louis from the Bronx that brought his father, Joseph’s photo, or Maggie that brought her father Henry’s photo so that somehow some way they can be part of the experience. It’s similar to when the cub scouts bring out large photos of WW2 vets that perished at Pearl Harbor but on a much more personal level. Next up were the vets from the Korean War with great representation from all the local chapters. They were greeted with loud applause from the crowd. The Koreans that helped us were also given a large ovation. A group of Veteran Moms and the Blue Star Moms also were shown a lot of love by the crowd. Right after them, the Air Force landed with a marching band up from Washington DC. The band was great and helped introduce the next group of vets, the Vietnam War vets. They got the loudest applause of all and heard many fellow Vietnam Vets yell out Welcome Home. This year, the crowd was treated to the Take Me Home Huey Project where a medical evacuation helicopter that was shot down on February 14, 1969 in Vietnam was displayed after an amazing transformation. Part of the original remaining crew was reunited and got plenty of thanks and applaud from the crowd. Vietnam vets also paid tribute to the USS Battleship New Jersey that served in the War. The last and the loudest of all our vets are the Iraq and Afghanistan post 9/11 vets. They still have that can do – kick butt energy needed to take on any challenge. Much like the same soldiers did in WW1, WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War. It’s all part of that unique American get it done mind set that makes the USA the greatest military force in world history. Thank you for our vets to help us get there.

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