MANHATTAN, N.Y. — The Veterans Day parade revisited tradition for its 102nd installment by returning to an in-person celebration after a dramatically downsized ceremony in 2020.
Nearly 200 marching units took part and made their way up Fifth Avenue in the nation’s largest Veterans Day event.
Before the parade was the wreath laying ceremony at Madison Square Park’s Eternal Light Flagstaff and the 21-gun salute.
Following that ceremony, thousands of spectators lined the streets for the parade which started on 29th Street.
Families of current and retired members waved flags as they waited for their relatives to march by.
“We’re out here today to support my husband,” one woman said. “[He’s] an active Air Force member that will be walking in the parade, so it’s important for [our children] to be able to see their dad and a part of the military community and family.”
This year’s featured service is the U.S. Air Force. Grand Marshall Kevin Carrick is an Air Force veteran and retired Senior Master Sergeant who served for over 20 years as an elite pararescueman.
Carrick says there are many points in history being remembered this year.
“It’s the 20th anniversary for 9/11,” Carrick said. “It’s the 20th anniversary for Global War on Terror. It’s the 30th anniversary for the Gulf War, so it’s all clashing together here in the Big Apple today. I think all that stuff plays in everybody’s minds today.”
For veterans in the crowd, like Thomas Newton who was a legal clerk in Vietnam, it brings them back in time.
“I’m 73 now and I come to these because I miss the people — especially the ones we lost,” Newton said.