New York City’s Veterans Day Parade will take a slightly different approach this year — for the first time, three Grand Marshals will lead the 30-block parade up Fifth Avenue, each of them both a 9/11 first responder and a veteran of the nation’s post-9/11 wars.
The three are:
- Port Authority Acting COO Stephanie Dawson, an Army National Guard colonel who commanded troops at Ground Zero and served in Kuwait as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and later in Iraq.
- NYPD Det. Nelson Vergara, who worked for months at Ground Zero and served with the Marine Corps in Iraq.
- FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Duggan, who responded to 9/11 and served with the Army Reserve in Iraq.
“Our three grand marshals represent the centuries-old tradition of our veterans who continue to serve their community after their service to our nation is concluded,” said Doug McGowan, a Marine vet and the chair of United War Veterans Council, the nonprofit that runs what’s officially known as America’s Parade.
“Our first responders and our veterans remind us that 9/11 was at once our darkest moment and our finest hour.”
The Nov. 11 march will commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11 while honoring first responders as well as the men and women who’ve served the nation.
Approximately 40,000 veterans, active-duty personnel and their supporters from 30 states will begin the march with a memorial ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.
That monument is dedicated to those who served in the First World War, whose conclusion made Nov. 11 first Armistice Day, and now Veterans Day.
The parade is always an inspiration; and this year especially, there’s even more reason to attend and show support and give our thanks to American veterans.