America honored its veterans Saturday with parades and ceremonies.
Veterans Day saluted in parades, ceremonies
Americans honored their military veterans Saturday with a parade in the wintry cold of New York City, where one World War II vet thanked onlookers for remembering, and in a somber ceremony in a Texas community bloodied by a church massacre where almost half of those killed had ties to the U.S. Air Force.
Across the Atlantic, millions of people in Britain and France paused to remember war victims as they marked Armistice Day, which this year was the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I.
In parks, war memorials, football fields and on streets across the United States, politicians and citizens gathered to thank those who have served in the nation’s armed forces.
In New York City, which hosts the largest Veterans Day parade in the country, astronaut Buzz Aldrin served as grand marshal, joining Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Air Force’s highest-ranking woman at Saturday’s parade.
“It’s beautiful, so many people,” said Aldrin, who rode in a convertible and waved to the crowds gathered on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Aldrin, 87, served in the Air Force and was the second man on the moon, piloting the Apollo 11 and following Neil Armstrong onto the lunar surface in 1969.
Air Force Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski also attended, along with hundreds of other veterans who marched in the cold. One of the World War II veterans who rode in a float held a sign that read “Thank you for remembering.” Others held U.S. flags or black-and-white photos of their loved ones, and dressed in historic uniforms.
De Blasio said the U.S. must provide veterans better access to mental health and medical care, and more job opportunities.
Also in New York state, state and local officials said a new monument will honor African-American military veterans, and will be built in Buffalo’s waterfront, alongside other memorials. Planners hope to dedicate it on Veterans Day 2018.
Rhode Island used the special occasion of Veterans Day to officially open a new home for veterans.
The state is one of the first to use a community living concept for veterans’ long-term care, Kasim Yarn, Rhode Island’s first director of veterans affairs, said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the home, located in the town of Bristol on the same site of the previous home, which dated back to 1955, with additions built in later years.
“I’m proud that Rhode Island is now leading the way in recognizing the sacrifice of those who’ve served our great nation. Our veterans deserve nothing less,” Raimondo said.
The new 208-bed complex provides nursing and residential care for veterans. They began moving in last week into cottages, where each resident has a private bedroom and bathroom. There’s also a central location for social activities and services.
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, center, salutes Saturday during the annual Veterans Day parade in New York. Aldrin served as grand marshal and joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and others at the parade.