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Veterans Day Parade in New York City

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Washington, D.C. may be our nation’s capitol, but New York City is its heart. Since 1919 it has hosted what is now the nation’s largest Veterans Day Parade, and has honored veterans and active military through times of war and peace. The Veterans Day Parade in New York City is known as America’s Parade. It is a non-partisan, non-political celebration that provides an opportunity for the nation to show its pride and gratitude for the men and women who serve and protect our nation.

The Parade

World War II veteran and Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau will serve as the Grand Marshal of the 2015 parade. This year’s event specifically honors the Navy and commemorates the 25th Anniversary of Desert Shield and the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II. The parade will take place on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, November 11. The Opening Ceremony begins at 10:00 am and the parade follows at 11:30 am, concluding around 3:30 pm.

The Opening Ceremony

The traditional opening ceremony is held on the corner of 5th Avenue and 24th Street, at the Eternal Light Monument next to Madison Square Park. Some seating is provided, with preference given to elderly and disabled veterans. The Mayor of New York, members of the armed services and special guests pay tribute to the men and women of the military with speeches and special musical performances. It culminates in the traditional wreath laying at 11:00 am, the playing of “Taps” and a 21-rifle salute.

The Route

The parade begins on 26th Street and continues on a 1.4-mile route up Fifth Avenue past famous landmarks such as the Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, to its end at 52nd Street. Guests may view the parade from the official Reviewing Stand in front of the world-famous New York Public Library on 41st street, or from anywhere along the route. At the Reviewing Stand bleachers are available for veterans and their guests.

The Participants

Viewers will see floats, mounted units, military and vintage vehicles, and many military and civilian groups. Over 250 groups and 20,000 individuals will participate, including:

• Active duty military units
• Veterans of all eras
• Civic and youth groups
• ROTC and Jr. ROTC units
• Prestigious high school marching bands, drill teams and dancers

The parade is not just an opportunity to celebrate our armed forces, but to raise awareness about the challenges they often face when they return home. Groups such as the Wounded Warriors and the Samaritan Village Veterans Program march to encourage support for veterans who face physical and emotional challenges as a result of their service. Corporations also participate to show their support, including representatives from HBO, the History Channel, the Miss America Pageant and U-Haul.

As the parade has grown, its reach has also expanded. Over 400,000 viewers flock to New York each year to enjoy the parade in person, but it is also broadcast on television and over the Internet, reaching millions of viewers worldwide. The Veterans Day Parade is one of the top things to do in NYC, and is a special event for participants and viewers alike.