November 11 marks the annual tradition of The New York City Veterans Day Parade. The parade is hosted by the United War Veterans Council, Inc. on behalf of the City of New York. It is the oldest and largest of its kind in the nation. Since November 11, 1919, the parade has provided an opportunity for Americans and International visitors to honor those who have served, preserving our freedoms and defending our democracy. From its modest beginnings, a year after the Armistice was signed that concluded World War I, the parade has grown not just in scope and scale, but in national importance. The NYC Veterans Day Parade has endured and been a constant through war times and times of peace. It is a Veterans Day ritual for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, Armed Service Members, their families and tourists. It is widely covered by local and national media. The Parade has always been a reflection of New York City’s sense of patriotism, community spirit and respect for The Flag. Participating in this high-energy commemoration is a great way for your students to thank all those who served our country, protecting our freedoms.
The parade is preceded by our traditional Opening Ceremony, at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park. This ceremony of remembrance and reflection features remarks by the Mayor of New York, other senior elected officials, and special guests, as well as musical tributes and readings. It is open to the public, with preferential seating available for veterans. The ceremony culminates with a wreath laying, 21-rifle salute and playing of “Taps.”
The NYC Veterans Day Parade features over 20,000 participants, including veterans of all eras, active duty military, ROTC and JROTC units, civic and youth groups, all accompanied by music performed by a selection of our nation’s best high school marching bands, drill teams and step dancers. Floats, military and vintage vehicles and other special contingents add to the spectacle and excitement of the parade, which is viewed annually by over 400,000 spectators. The parade route is approximately 1.2 miles, and takes 30-40 minutes for participants to complete. The duration of the entire parade is approximately three to four hours, depending on the final number of participating groups. Participants march or ride in review past our official Reviewing Stand, located at 41st Street in front of the world-famous facade of the New York Public Library. Bleachers are available next to the Reviewing Stand for veterans and their guests who wish to sit and view the parade.