Speaking to crowds in New York City on Monday, President Donald Trump commemorated Veterans Day by praising the men and women who have served in America’s various wars.
Thousands attended the city’s 100th parade to honor American military veterans, reported noted.
The parade is put on each year by the United War Veterans Council. Trump placed a wreath and spoke to the crowd at the Eternal Light Memorial.
“We pledge to always honor our veterans,” he said while standing at a podium near his wife, first lady Melania Trump. “You are America’s greatest living heroes and we will cherish you now, always and forever.
“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 in freedom.”
Organizers of the parade say they have invited every president for the past 25 years, but President Trump is the first one to accept.
Other presidents elected instead to attend a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
“As far back as we can remember, no one has ever accepted our invitation,” Nick Angione, a member of the organizing veterans council, said. “This year, very honored, very pleased, very excited President Trump has accepted.”
“It is truly an honor to come back to New York City to Madison Square Park to be the first president to ever attend America’s parade,” Trump said.
A number of demonstrators protested the president’s appearance, chanting “lock him up” and “impeach.”
But Council Chairman Douglas McGowan said earlier that Trump’s appearance should be viewed only as a tribute to military veterans and not through a politicized lens.
“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,” McGowan said.