History and Overview
The New York City Veterans Day Parade has its roots in parades and marches organized by veterans of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to mark Evacuation Day (November 25, 1783 – the day the British departed New York City at the end of the American Revolution). In 1919, after World War I, millions of New Yorkers welcomed home tens of thousands of troops at Parades along Fifth Avenue, inaugurating a new tradition — and focal point — for honoring service. When public support of patriotic observances declined in the late 1970s and 1980s, the United War Veterans Council stepped forward to prevent the Parade from disappearing and began the process of restoring it to its rightful position of prominence in the community.
Today, the NYC Veterans Day Parade is the largest Veterans Day event in the nation. The Parade takes place every November 11, rain or shine. Over 300 units and tens of thousands of marchers assemble near Madison Square Park, including veterans of all eras, military units, civic & youth groups, businesses, and high school bands from across America. Floats, military/vintage vehicles and other special elements add to the spectacle.
The Parade proceeds north on Fifth Avenue from 26th ~ 52nd St, from 11:15 AM to approximately 3:30 PM. The Reviewing Stand is located on 41st Street, in front of the NY Public Library. It is preceded by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Eternal Light in Madison Square Park, and followed by a Veterans Street Fair and other activities that are open to either participants or the general public. The Parade is also the centerpiece of Veterans Week NYC, a citywide series of events that honor and serve our veterans community.
This year’s Parade marks the centennial of America’s entry into the First World War (1917 ~ 2017). The U.S. Air Force is this year’s featured service; we will be announcing an Air Force veteran and American icon as our Grand Marshal this summer.
Eternal Light Memorial | Madison Square Park
Prior to the Parade, veteran leaders, elected officials, senior military officers and special guests present wreaths at this icon NYC veterans monument that has been the centerpiece of New York City veterans’ parades since just after World War One.
Over 300 marching units line up prior to the Parade in assigned locations near Madison Square Park.
The Parade runs through the heart of Manhattan, past NYC icons including the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Hundreds of thousands of spectators line the route to support our veterans.
Our review stage and bleacher seating is located in front of the NY Public Library, at 41st Street (on Fifth Avenue).
The Parade is broadcast live on PIX11 from 12 – 3pm, and is also shown on AFN (American Forces Network). In addition, it is streamed online at Military.com.