NYC Veterans Day Parade Honors Fort Hood Victims


veterans-paradeOn the 90th anniversary of Veterans Day today, NYC honored the military men and women who died in last week’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood during the annual parade down Fifth Avenue.

The day began with Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosting a special breakfast for the 90th Veterans Day Parade, billed as the nation’s largest.

A military group that also had attended the Fort Hood memorial service yesterdaywas at the breakfast. Its escort was Major Lee R. Vartigian of the New York Army National Guard says “all those in uniform today are given special treatment,” especially because of the tragedy.

The city also reminded New Yorkers that there is no need to take cover — a 21-gun salute and a military flyover are all part of the celebration.

The parade began near Madison Square Park at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue and ends at 56th Street and Fifth Ave.

More than 20,000 — including veterans of all eras, active duty military, ROTC and JrROTC units, civic and youth groups — are scheduled to participate in the parade and more than 400,000 are expected to attend.

This year’s parade will also honor a special group of World War II veterans for the first time — the group known as WASP — Women Air Force Service Pilots.

“We were very unknown for a long time, it seemed to be a government secret,” says surviving member Eleanor Collins-Faust, 87, of Orient, Long Island.

Not anymore — the surviving members will soon receive Congressional medals of Honor. A total of 38 female fliers lost their lives in the line of duty.

The famed Navajo Code Talkers are also participating in the parade. As young Marines, they used secret Navajo language-encrypted military terms to help the U.S. prevail at World War II battles.

The festivities began with a 10 a.m. ceremony at Madison Square Park’s Eternal Light Monument where Governor David Paterson addressed the crowd. The ceremony culminates in a wreath laying and a 21-rifle salute

The city sent out a public reminder about the flyover and gun salute so people wouldn’t be alarmed. In April, a low-flying photo shoot by a presidential plane did just that.

The sight of a jet and a fighter plane whizzing past the Statue of Liberty and the financial district sent panicked lower Manhattan office workers streaming into the streets.

Government offices and courts will be closed along with New York City Public Schools in observance of the holiday. Alternate side parking regulations are suspended, but all other parking regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

 {1010 WINS-NY/Noam Newscenter}