Thousands participate in NYC vets parade

November 11, 2010 2:26:24 PM PST
Some 3,000 active-duty service men and women are among the estimated 20,000 participants at the Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan.

Gov. David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg participated in the parade's opening ceremony on Thursday at the Eternal Light Monument at Madison Square Park before the march up Fifth Avenue.

Former Yankees infielder and San Diego Padres Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman was the parade's grand marshal. Coleman served in both WWII and the Korean War.

"It's a day to honor all of our veterans that are past. And some of them are still here," Alyssa Newbon said.

The 8 year old soldier's daughter gets it. That's what the 91st annual Veterans Day parade is about.

"It is pretty cool because of Veterans. You know, they sacrifice themselves for us," Shaun Crafton of North Bergen said.

"It's very emotional. Very emotional. I am feeling very good. And it's my first time bringing my fiancée to the parade," Abdel Jamila, an Iraq war vet, said.

The music, the flags, the floats - all a show of that emotion ad respect for people like Sgt. Louis Rosario, a highly decorated Vietnam vet with the medal of Valor, Purple Heart and Bronze Stars.

"Supporting my brothers, man. My fellow comrades," he said.

This year's parade fell on the 60th anniversary of the Korean war.

"We're getting a little older. Not many of us could make it anymore, but we do the best we can," Korean war vet Leo Romeu said.

World War II Vets rode in style in classic cars like a '68 Firebird.

The parade also fell on the last day of the Gibson's vacation from England.

"We have heard of it, but didn't expect to see it. So it's a bonus," Tracy Gibson said.

"Fantastic. It's good to see all the veterans," Guy Gibson said.

A wreath was laid at the Eternal Light Monument at Madison Square Park before the march began up Fifth Avenue.

From the World War One Doughboy to hand held photographs of those who died on the battlefield, the tributes that made soldiers well up with pride.

"If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here doing our jobs as military service members," Master Sgt. Robert Moran said.