They came to revel and remember.
Spectators massed along Fifth Avenue Tuesdayto honor marching, wheeling and riding military veterans in “America’s Parade.”
“It makes my heart feel out of this world!” said Maria Figueroa, 66, a retired U.S. Army medic and recruiter who lives in the Eastchester section of the Bronx.
Figueroa came in camouflage outerwear, but some bystanders misunderstood her garb as a fashion statement when she intended it to signal solidarity.
She wished she’d worn her T-shirt emblazoned “Some women play house: Real women serve their country.” Figueroa attends the parade each year because “these are my people. I relate to them.”
Former police commissioner and Marine Ray Kelly was the grand marshal for the parade.
Rekindling a lost camaraderie in an age of declining trust was a common theme for many veterans.
“It’s a shame you can’t stay young forever. I would have stayed in the military forever,” said David Knight, 58, who served in the Air Force from 1974-94.
“It’s a brotherhood thing,” explained the technical sergeant from Springfield Gardens, Queens, about his love for the military.
“Today’s a good day, but also a sad day because the system failed us,” said Frank Rodriguez, 62, a Vietnam vet who came to honor “all our brothers who can’t be here and all the innocent veterans in prison.”
Hayley Kinghan, 28, a tourist who usually celebrates “Remembrance Day,” in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said, “I always go to the parade at home,” Kinghan said, adding, she attended New York City’s because “I want to honor all the people who have given their lives for us.”
Exact attendance figures for the parade were not available yesterday.