Once again Lin and I participated in the New York City Veterans Day Parade – also known as America’s Parade. This year, the parade celebrated its 96th anniversary, again traveling up New York’s historic Fifth Avenue amid the cheers of spectators showing their support of the 20,000+ participants.
As in previous years, Veterans Advantage had a float in the parade. Our local Veterans Advantage staff and a number of our incredible members joined the procession, raising awareness for veteran recognition while sharing an unforgettable experience. This collective feeling of community and purpose is unparalleled, and it is what Veterans Day is all about.
Each year, as our team rides on our Veterans Advantage float, I’m reminded of the day I returned home from Vietnam. That day was lonely; it was lacking the patriotism, gratitude and overwhelming support of our U.S. armed forces and their families that I now see each year on this parade route. But instead of remembering the day I returned as one empty of celebration, I prefer to remember what I’ve seen on Veterans Day in recent years – an outpouring of gratitude and this national celebration of our U.S. military veterans, active duty military, reservists, Guard members and their families.
As we continue to celebrate Veterans Week NYC, I encourage you to remember and honor our veterans any way you can. Volunteer with a local veteran-based charity, support a veteran-owned or operated business, tell a service person “thank you” or just take a minute out of your busy day to remember those who have served, and those who continue to do so. Even though November 11 is designated as Veterans Day, we should recognize the sacrifices made by our military members, past and present, every day.
This year’s parade commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War, 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 25th anniversary of Desert Shield. The U.S. Navy was the featured military branch at this year’s parade (with the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s honored guest), and as any Marine will remind you – this week marked the 240th Birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.
All branches were present at the parade, which was captured by our staff member Mark Johnston. I’ve included some of his pictures below, and be sure to stay tuned next week for more when I wrap up all the events taking place here at Veterans Week NYC.
To learn more about this year’s ongoing events, check out the schedule at www.veteransweeknyc.org.