Despite the devastation that the tri-state area endured in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 New York City Veterans Day parade still took place as scheduled on Sunday, Nov. 11. Members of the FDU veterans community came out to support the event, with more than 90 attendees at this year’s parade.
The day started out for those attendees before the parade, with the University’s annual veterans ceremony, which took place at University Circle. Professors Pat Shuber and Leo McGuire spoke at the event. Following the speeches, the FDU community was treated to very special performance by country music singer Nathan Osmond.
Osmond was invited by Annin Flagmakers to appear in the NYC Veteran's Day Parade this year. Prior to that performance, he sang for Fairleigh Dickinson University and Wounded Warrior Project. Osmond performed on the University’s float and built a relationship with Veteran Services Office. The relationship was encouraged by FDU alum, Robert R. Caggiano, VP of Sales for the Commercial Sales Division of Annin Flagmakers. After the parade, Osmond expressed interest in joining the veterans again next year at the parade.
Parade attendees from the FDU community were happy about the opportunity to march in the parade and felt that this event lifted the spirits of the entire region.
“I literally tried to make face-to-face contact with every veteran that was there on both sides of the parade route. It was very uplifting. The warm smiles were priceless to me,” says Nicholas Raben, retired Army E-8 Master Sergeant and FDU student veteran. “I would not have had this opportunity if FDU did not value the service of veterans, the families of veterans and student veterans.”
More than 750,000 spectators lined up on the parade route on 5th Avenue that day. Thousands of active duty military, veteran organizations and veteran supporters marched on that beautiful Sunday afternoon. After the parade was over, the FDU contingent gathered to take photos. They are eagerly anticipating next year’s parade. There were student veterans and families represented from many different eras. It was wonderful for everyone to gather, student veterans and families represented multiple generations, and to see the support FDU has for our nation’s veterans.
The group was fortunate to have items donated from Law Coffee, Mr. Cupcakes, FDU’s Center for Psychological Services and Annin Flagmakers.