On Monday morning, President Donald Trump became the first sitting commander in chief to attend the New York City Veterans Day parade.
The city honored the brave men and women of our accomplished military with its 100th annual parade, with the opening ceremony held in celebration of the World War I ceasefire.
The president began his address by praising “the greatest warriors to ever walk the face of the earth.”
“To each veteran of the war, the glory of your deeds will only grow greater with time,” he said. “This city is graced by your presence. This nation is forever in your debt, and we thank you all.”
“You are the reason our hearts swell with pride, our foes tremble with fear, and our nation thrives with freedom.”
Each year, one branch of the military is chosen to be recognized front and center, with this year’s honor going to the Marine Corps.
“This year we honor the elite masters of air, land, and sea, the legendary leathernecks, the feared devil dogs, the first to flight, the United States Marines,” Trump said.
The president also told the powerful story of Army Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds, who, while a prisoner of war, defied the orders of a Nazi commander in order to save the lives of his Jewish brothers in arms.
Trump praised the act as an example of “unbelievable and exceptional valor.”
Organizers of the event expressed gratitude to Trump for being the first president to attend the event despite 25 years of invitations.
“As far back as we can remember, no one has ever accepted our invitation,” UWVC member Nick Angione told UPI. “This year, very honored, very pleased, very excited President Trump has accepted.”
While the event was largely one of unity in honor of our service members, Trump’s appearance did not come without opposition.
There were demonstrators chanting “lock him up” and windows taped with messages “impeach” and “convict.” Thankfully, the protests were preemptively condemned by local leaders and organizers.
“This is a day when we put politics aside to focus on honoring our veterans and to recommit ourselves as a community to providing them with the services they have earned, the services they deserve and, for many, the services they were denied,” UWVC Chairman Douglas McGowan said.
Even far-left New York City Mayor and vocal Trump critic Bill de Blasio stressed that both sides of the aisle should call off politics for the day.
“[The parade] should not be politicized,” he said. “It should not be a spectacle. If he’s really coming here to truly honor veterans, God bless him.”
The president certainly held up his end of the bargain throughout the event, going so far as to recognize and thank de Blasio during his speech.
Watch the president’s address below:
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