NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

NATO Celebrates Veterans Day Parade in New York City

November 11, 2023

NATO Honours all Veterans from All Eras at New York City’s Largest Commemoration Parade.

NEW YORK CITY – In a display of the enduring Euro-Atlantic partnership, NATO Allied Command Transformation service members, from Norfolk, Virginia, marched with their country’s flags at the annual Veterans Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 11.

NATO continues its yearly tradition of celebrating Veterans Day by participating in America’s largest commemoration of service during New York City’s grand parade on Saturday.

In 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first anniversary of Armistice Day to honour World War I veterans. In 1954, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day as an annual observance. The United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honour veterans of all U.S. wars.

On a crisp Saturday morning, the crowd ramped up the parade saluting, cheering, and taking photos with parade participants including NATO staff in honour of 104 years of Veterans Day tradition and history.

With bagpipes and drums playing in the background, NATO representatives from Allied Command Transformation each carried their nation’s flags and marched on New York City’s “most patriotic mile” with 20,000 veterans, active-duty service members and volunteers on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

For NATO’s flag bearer Major Angel Romero, participating in New York City’s Veterans Day Parade is a new experience.

“This is my first time participating… and there is nothing more sacred than the national flag,” said Romero. “In Spain, military members take their oath by kissing the flag. Carrying the Spanish flag on such an important day and in a city as significant and impressive as New York – is such an honour.”

NATO’s presence at the Veterans Day Parade serves as a powerful affirmation of the unity and collaboration that have long defined NATO and the transatlantic partnership.

NATO Allied Command Transformation, with the unique distinction of being situated on U.S. territory, the attendance of representatives from Allied Nations holds a profound significance. It symbolizes the close connections among NATO’s military leaders, a bond that takes on added importance during these challenging times.

For Master Chief Petty Officer Adrian Popa, the 30-year Romanian Army veteran is also a veteran NATO flag bearer for New York City’s Veterans Day Parade. Popa took a moment to reflect on his military service and supporting NATO’s mission.

“Carrying the NATO flag at the Veterans Day Parade signifies a commitment to international cooperation, mutual defence, and honouring the collective sacrifice made by veterans from diverse nations to promote peace and security.”

NATO Allied Command Transformation, as one of NATO’s two strategic commands, leads the warfare development of military structures, forces, capabilities and doctrines in order to navigate the evolving landscape of warfare. NATO continues to foster a culture of collaboration, fostering greater collaboration throughout the Allied countries.