Veterans Day 2020: Vehicle caravan replaces parade in New York

A caravan of 100 vintage jeeps, private cars, and other vehicles paraded along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan before dawn Wednesday in a socially distant Veterans Day observance.

For more than a century, Veterans Day was celebrated with a big parade along the avenue that drew thousands of New Yorkers and visitors to publically say thanks to this country's veterans. 

However this year, organizers opted for the vehicle parade because the coronavirus pandemic has halted large-scale public gatherings.

U.S. Navy officials laid wreaths at Madison Square Park's eternal light flagstaff at 6 a.m. before reviewing the car parade.

Later Wednesday, a ceremony was held at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid.

A man waves a flag as he stands in the back of a military-style vehicle during a Veterans Day parade in New York, Nov. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

"Every time I come here, different memories come up," Navy veteran Stuart Gelband said. "I think about my brother on this day. He served in Vietnam and never came back the same."

Intrepid Museum's Susan Marenoff said that canceling their event was never an option.

"These are our heroes who are on the front lines protecting our freedoms every day and if we couldn't find a way to honor them, then shame on us," she said.

After the private ceremony, veterans dropped wreaths and flowers into the Hudson River. Then Marines fired off a 21-gun salute.

With The Associated Press

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