NEW YORK – NATO military personnel from Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation, located in Norfolk, Virginia, participated in this year’s New York City Veterans Day Parade for the first time on Nov. 11. NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, and NATO’s participation in the parade further demonstrates the bond between Europe and North America, making NATO the strongest alliance in history.
Like many other veterans and remembrance day parades, the purpose of the New York City parade “is to honour the veterans, raise awareness of those who serve them, and to salute members of our currently serving military.” The New York City parade is commemorating its 100th anniversary this year, holding its first parade in 1919, one year after the end of World War I. The history and great sacrifices of those who served in the previous wars was recognized by the thousands who lined Fifth Avenue.
The military contingent from Allied Command Transformation began marching from 26th Street along Fifth Avenue until 46th Street. Throughout the march they were assisted by Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets who proudly held the 29 flags representing NATO nations, which were preceded by the Allied Command Transformation and NATO flags carried by Warrant Officer Gyorgy Kovacs from the Hungarian Army and Petty Officer 1st Class Sebran Logan from the United States Navy. The Allied Command Transformation Flag Officer level was represented by Major General Sefik Atak from the Turkish Army.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Van Harten from the Netherlands emphasized that the participation in Allied Command Transformation’s parade detachment underlines the strong ties between NATO and the United States of America. Lieutenant Colonel Van Harten has served NATO in Naples, Italy, Brunssum in the Netherlands, and in the NATO training mission in Iraq. He believes it to be a privilege to serve NATO while living in the United States of America. “The tremendous amount of people who are cheering and applauding the veterans community in the heart of New York City is absolutely great. And participating in this 100 Year Anniversary Veterans Parade as part of NATO is an experience that will not be forgotten and the memory will be cherished.”