2019 Centennial Veterans Day Parade | Grand Marshal Announcement: WWII U.S. Marine Corps veteran Herschel “Woody” Williams

The United War Veterans Council (“UWVC”) announces the third of its 2019 Centennial NYC Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshals:

World War II Marine Corps Veteran & Medal of Honor Recipient

Herschel “Woody” Williams


It was 74 years ago today that America woke up to its first day at peace since its entry into World War II.

The United War Veterans Council (UWVC) is pleased to announce World War II veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient Herschel “Woody” Williams (U.S. Marine Corps) as one of its Grand Marshals for the 2019 New York City Veterans Day Parade.

This year’s event marks the centennial observation of Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day.

Each of this year’s five Centennial Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshals will represent an era of service from World War II to the present day.

Williams is the third to be announced, joining Hiroshi “Hershey” Williams (Korean War) and Eddie Ray (Desert Storm). The remaining Grand Marshals will be announced over the next couple of weeks.

The Parade will take place on New York City’s iconic Fifth Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan, on November 11, 2019.

It will feature nearly 300 marching units and over 25,000 participants from nearly 30 states, including veterans, military members, service organizations, youth cadets and top high school marching bands.

The parade will be broadcast on TV and online by WABC-TV, the nation’s most watched television station.

A native of West Virginia, Williams was selected as a Grand Marshal for his distinguished military service and his lifetime commitment to the veterans community and to our nation.

Williams first confronted the cost of war during the early years of World War II, when he delivered telegrams informing families of the death of their loved one. Eager to do his part for his nation, he volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943.

Williams was a 21-year old Marine corporal on February 23, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima, when he went forward alone, ahead of his unit, and eliminated a series of well-entrenched enemy machine gun positions.

For these actions, he received the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for valor.

Williams stayed in the military following the war, serving for 20 years in the Marine Corps and Marine Corps reserve.  For 33 years, he worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a Veterans Service Representative, helping thousands of fellow veterans obtain their benefits.

He has been a lifelong advocate for veterans in his home state and across America.

Today, his Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation is working to establish Gold Star Family memorials in every state in the country, honoring those who have lost a loved one in the service of our nation.

“Woody was not only a hero on the battlefield, but he has continued to serve our veterans and our country throughout his life,” said UWVC Executive Director Mark Otto, also a former Marine.  “And although Woody comes from small town America, his story and personality are truly larger than life, and a great fit for the streets of New York City.”

Williams himself reflected, “Seventy-four years ago, the significance of that first day of peace meant that the fighting was over and that there would be no more casualties. Those of us preparing for further combat experienced a great feeling of relief and achievement.  I’m proud to come to New York to represent all those Americans who helped win World War II – and especially those who never had the chance to experience the priceless gift of coming home to their loved ones.”

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ABOUT THE NYC VETERANS DAY PARADE:  The New York City Veterans Day Parade is our nation’s largest event honoring service. Produced by the United War Veterans Council (UWVC), the Parade provides the public with the opportunity to salute our veterans and military, and raises awareness for organizations working to serve their needs. It is the centerpiece of an annual citywide effort to honor our veterans community.  The Parade features veterans groups and service providers, military units, youth and civic groups, top high school bands from across America, vintage vehicles, floats and more. It is supported by numerous sponsoring partners, including UWVC Recycling, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Fiserve, Cushman & Wakefield, Wounded Warrior Project and A+E Networks/HISTORY. For more information, visit uwvc.org/vetsday.

ABOUT THE UNITED WAR VETERANS COUNCIL:  The United War Veterans Council, Inc. (UWVC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that honors and serves veterans.  The UWVC supports and promotes a wide range of initiatives that provide vital services to our veterans community (including health, wellness and education); raises positive awareness and increases public understanding of the needs of our veterans community through major public events and promotional activities; and brings together veterans groups, community organizations, government agencies, businesses of all sizes and the general public. For more information, visit uwvc.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.