Honoring our war veterans
As a boy growing up in the Bronx during the 1930s, the annual Armistice Day parade on the Grand Concourse, the borough's broad, tree-lined boulevard, was for me one of the most exciting events of the year.
Armistice Day celebrated the ending of World War I. The holiday was officially renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to also honor those of us who served in World War II or the Korean War.
I will always remember the legions of aged World War I veterans, grouped by American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, marching down the Concourse with flags and military banners flapping in the wind. Army bands and formations of soldiers and sailors on active duty in the armed forces marched briskly with them. The colorful patriotic scene was a welcome break to the dismal atmosphere of the Depression.
A special place of honor was reserved in the parade for a handful of survivors of the Spanish-American War and Civil War, most of them walking with canes or being pushed in wheel chairs.
I assume that the Veterans Day parades are still conducted each year on the Concourse, now dominated by Vietnam veterans. But I envision geriatric World War II veterans like myself--all now in our 80s and 90s--replacing those Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans in that special place of honor for heroic relics of past wars.