NEW YORK CITY - As part of the 100th anniversary of the New York City Veteran's Day parade, twenty-two members of Boy Scout Troop 19 marched in the historic ceremony.
Troop 19 is chartered at St. Rose of Lima Church in Short Hills, and made history by being the first female Scouts BSA Troop ever to march in the annual parade. The 1.2 mile parade also included 25 thousand other participants and tens of thousands of spectators.
According to a press release from the troop, they received an invitation to participate from the USS Intrepid Former Crew Members Association, Inc.
“Marching in the parade felt surreal with so many spectators cheering us on while we honored the veterans," Tenderfoot Scout Sophia Palumbo said. "It was great having my family there to experience the excitement and to see my dad in his uniform for the first time.”
Palumbo's father, Daniel Palumbo, is an Army veteran who served from 2000-2003.
During their time in the city, the troop also got to meet with a Korean War veteran who shared with them his personal story about his service, capture and 30-month ordeal as a prisoner of war before he was eventually freed.
“As a POW you had to survive, there was no here today, gone tomorrow. As a POW, you were here today, gone today!” said the unidentified veteran.
For the troop, it was an incredible opportunity to hear the veteran speak.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity," First Class Scout Kiera Lowden said. "I was honored to be surrounded by the men and women who served and fought vigorously for our country. There is no room for politics in patriotism. I felt proud to be an American marching alongside these veterans.”
As scoutmaster Daniel Cannon noted in the release, the opportunity to march was an incredible opportunity that every member of the troop relished.
“What a privilege to be connected and able to acknowledge generations of veterans by parading," Scoutmaster Cannon said. "It is fitting in so many ways that we are here today, as these female Scouts are on their own valiant path. They are pioneers marching briskly towards the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, that was only available to young men for 109 years.
"But today, they understood the need to pause and pay homage to those that gave them the unwavering freedom to be step forward, speak their voice and gave them the courage to be a fearless trailblazers with a simple 1.2 mile-gesture of thanks...I am so proud of Troop 19, as we not only marched with history today, we marched into it."