NEW YORK CITY – An array of service members from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., participated in the annual New York City Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11, 2012.
Service members from different branches, bases and units volunteered their time to represent the armed services in the annual parade honoring those who served in the past and those who are currently serving. The ceremonies began in Madison Square Park as state and local government officials gave speeches about the purpose of the parade. The troops then marched up 5th Avenue from the park, past the reviewing stand between 40th and 42nd street and finished at 56th Street while more than 600,000 spectators watched.
The largest group representing the Air Force in the parade was the JB MDL airmen. Some of these airmen had never been to New York City before the parade.
“It was interesting going to the ‘big city’ for the first time for the parade,” said Airman 1st Class Chris Mcnamee, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron special vehicle maintainer, who is originally from Cincinnati. “I was the Air Force banner bearer. It was an honor to commemorate the veterans and they seemed very appreciative of what we did.”
The airmen were not the only service members from the base to demonstrate their appreciation. JB MDL Marines also showed their support by attending and marching in the parade.
“It felt great to give the veterans the appreciation they deserve,” said Lance Cpl. Jordan Helsel, Marine Aircraft Group 49 administrative clerk, who is originally from Grayling, Mich. “It gives me a sense of pride to see people keep military traditions alive.”
Sgt. 1st Class Charles R. Gaglio, 77th Sustainment Brigade plans officer, was also impressed by the parade, even though this was not his first time participating in a large military event.
“It was one of the biggest events I had the honor to take part in,” said Gaglio. “I have been to other military events and this topped others including the Army 10-Miler at the Intrepid.”
The parade also included many ROTC, JROTC and United Services Organization representatives in addition to many foreign-war veterans. Foreign militaries also had a presence in the parade including Korean and Vietnamese veterans. The parade allowed past, present and future military members a chance to show their appreciation to all veterans.