If you were anywhere in New York City on Friday Nov. 11 you probably heard about the Veterans Day Parade happening on 5th Avenue.
Being completely truthful, I did not know it was occurring until I was stuck in the midst of it. My class and I were heading to an auction house down from 5th Avenue when it occurred to our professor that she just walked us into the center of the Veterans Day Parade.
Even if we tried to walk it would have been crazy, so we decided to stop and watch it instead. I had realized that this parade meant a lot to one of my friends who were on the trip with me. Her father is in the military and for her not to be home with him on that day was a bit heartbreaking for her, but she felt as if she was celebrating him from afar.
“It’s hard not being home with him today, but with him always being away for work, we’ve learned to find the positive in everything,” Issy Lang stated at the parade.
This was the 97th annual NYC Veterans Day Parade on 5th Avenue.
“This is one of the best ways to pay tribute to the ones who served,” a parade-goer expressed.
This whole parade had begun with a memorial ceremony that morning at Madison Square Garden. After that is when the parade moved to 5th Avenue and 26th Street.
“We have to honor them in every way,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the memorial ceremony. “Not just on Veterans Day, but every day of the year.”
I had been standing there from the time that the motorcyclists came out to the moment the last family member walked with a serviceman/servicewoman.
The U.S. Coast Guard was the featured service unit for this year’s parade.
This year’s parade commemorated the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with special recognition for Afghanistan, Iraq and the other 9/11 veterans and first responders.
Music was played by the New York Police Department, children walked with their serving family member, and the streets were filled with joy as everyone made their way down.
My favorite part had to be when the family members walked with their serving family member, because it just reminded you of how many people actually do serve, and how close they can be to home. I even had a tear in my eye at that moment.
As the parade closed out in the section of 5th Avenue that I was in it was safe to say that for someone who wasn’t supposed to initially attend the parade, it was one of the best things I could have done on Veterans Day.
You could literally feel the emotions in the crowd as some kids wore their parent’s tags, women and men remembered loved ones who fought, and people cheering on the veterans for their service.
The best thing was when servicemen and servicewoman would completely acknowledge the cheers and you would see a huge grin paint upon their face. That is when you know that your country truly does appreciate every action you take to keep us safe.
The parade finished on 53rd Street and 5th Avenue. More than 250 groups, marching bands, floats, military vehicles, veterans and 20,000 participants took part.
Make sure to come out next year to the 98th annual NYC Veterans Day Parade.
Follow the link below to hear some of the heartwarming things children of veterans had to say to me on Nov. 11.