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Trump to join hundreds of thousands at NYC Veterans Day Parade

Workers set up for the New York City

Workers set up for the New York City Veterans Day Parade on Sunday in Madison Square Park. Credit: Charles Eckert

Hundreds of thousands of people — including President Donald Trump — are expected to honor veterans and active members of the military Monday at the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade. 

About 30,000 representatives of veterans groups, civic groups and youth organizations will march the 1.2-mile route up Fifth Avenue from 26th Street to 46th Street, according to organizers. They will be joined by marching bands, floats and vintage military vehicles. 

Trump will be the first sitting president in history to attend the annual parade. He won’t march along the route, but he is expected to speak at the 10:30 a.m. opening ceremony in Madison Square Park and to lay a wreath at the park's Eternal Light monument. The United War Veterans Council, which organizes the parade, says it is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical event. 

Presidents usually celebrate Veterans Day by laying at wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Trump was an important supporter of the parade long before he got involved in electoral politics: He donated $200,000 to organizers in 1995, when the event faced financial struggles. Trump, who did not serve in the military, reportedly said at the time that he wanted to be named grand marshal, although he has never actually served in that role. 

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger will serve as honorary grand marshal and will lead a contingent of Marines up Fifth Avenue. 

The opening ceremony, which is closed to the public, will include a moment of silence at 11 a.m. to commemorate the eleventh hour of the 11th day in the 11th month of 1918, the precise moment of the armistice that ended World War I. 

One year later — and 100 years ago — New York marked the anniversary of the armistice with its first parade honoring veterans up Fifth Avenue. After World War II, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, honoring veterans from every era in American history. 

Security will be especially tight in Manhattan because of Trump’s appearance at the parade, and numerous streets along the route will be closed to traffic for much of the day. The parade will be broadcast on WABC-TV.

A group called Refuse Fascism NYC said on its Facebook page it was planning to protest Trump’s Veterans Day speech. The group did not respond to a message seeking comment Sunday night. 

WHAT: New York City Veterans Day Parade

WHERE: North on Fifth Avenue from 26th Street to 46th Street

WHEN: Monday, 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

OPENING CEREMONY: President Donald Trump will deliver remarks at the opening ceremony in Madison Square Park at 10:30 a.m. and then lay a wreath at the Eternal Light monument in the park. The opening ceremony is closed to the public.

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