Veterans Day Parade draws hundreds and helps Sandy victims
Many of the city's armed service retirees spent Veterans Day Sunday giving back to Hurricane Sandy victims.
The city's annual parade was the first major celebratory event in New York since Sandy and the former soldiers didn't let the floats and music get in the way of their mission to help needy Americans.
New York Cares accepted coats as part of a drive during the parade for the thousands of families that were left homeless by Sandy.
"What's wonderful is that veterans came to us and felt, in the spirit of service that is so prevalent among folks in the armed forces, they wanted to make sure the veterans were not only being honored today but also doing their bit to help," Greg Bagley, the nonprofit's executive director said.
Revelers came out in droves to show their appreciation for the vets' service around the world. Waving flags and constantly shouting "thank you" as they marched north on Fifth Avenue, paradegoers said coming out to cheer the troops on was the least they could do for the hometown heroes.
"It's all volunteer and they do so much," said a Brooklyn spectator who identified herself as Barbara, a wife and mother of a veteran.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, who fought in World War II, served as this year's grand marshal. Elected officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Charles Schumer, also marched with about 20,000 vets.
Although all members of the armed services took part in the celebration, the parade focused on the U.S. Coast Guard.
Sgt. Jaime Soto, 43, of the Bronx, served in Operation Desert Storm and currently works for the Army's New York counter drug task force. He said the holiday has a special place for him and his comrades.
"It's always great seeing [civilians] come out and appreciate us," he said.
What's closed for Veterans Day
The following are in effect for Veterans Day:
-- Federal, state and city offices are closed.
-- Public schools are closed.
-- The New York Public Library is closed.
-- The bond market is closed.
-- The stock and futures markets are open.
-- Banks can choose to close, but the Federal Reserve is open.
-- Post offices are closed.
-- All mail service is suspended, except for express mail delivery.
-- Subways, buses and commuter trains will run on a regular weekday schedule.
-- Street cleaning, garbage and recycling collection are suspended.
-- Alternate-side-parking rules are suspended.
-- Parking meter rules are in effect