Havre de Grace High School’s Warrior Pride Band will again be marching in this year’s New York City Veterans Day Parade on Saturday.
This year the band, which last participated in the New York parade in 2013, will be marching on behalf of veterans in their lives under the direction of Richard Hauf, the band’s director and Fine Arts Department chair at HHS.
According to organizers, the New York parade is the largest commemoration of service in the nation, with participants from all over the U.S. marching up Fifth Avenue.
“We are so excited to be returning to the parade this year,” Hauf said in a statement in which he called their prior appearance at the New York parade, “the most important and memorable parade performance we have ever given.”
This year, the Warrior Pride Band will be paying tribute to United States veterans in a unique way. Each band member will wear an armband on their uniform that represents a different veteran. Many of these veterans have personal connections to the students.
“I am marching for my grandfather, Thomas Tumilowicz, who was a part of the United States Marine Corps and served in the White House Color Guard. He was very dedicated to his service and loved this country,” said HHS senior Julianne Nierwinski.
Many students have been influenced by the veterans in their lives, and are passionate about celebrating Veteran’s Day. The students want to show their gratitude to United States veterans and recognize their contributions to the nation and to history.
“Having the opportunity to march in the Veterans Day Parade fills me with great joy. I have chosen to march for my great grandmother, who was one of the first women to join the Marines and one of the first female staff sergeants to be commemorated for her service,” said HHS sophomore Sydney Young. “My great grandmother and my great grandfather met while serving in the Marines, and she was actually a higher rank than him, which was empowering for women.”
With Havre de Grace High School being less than 10 miles from Aberdeen Proving Ground, several of the students have parents who are stationed at APG and others have parents who work on post in civilian jobs. Many of the students are marching in honor of veterans who have served or are currently serving at APG.
“We are very proud of the strong military presence in our school and community,” Hauf said.
The Warrior Pride Marching Band will be performing an “Armed Forces Salute” as they march down 5th Avenue. The arrangement includes the official service songs of the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force.
“We wanted to honor our Veterans by performing these important melodies that bring a strong sense of pride and emotion for all who have served,” Hauf said.
Leading the parade as Grand Marshal is Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War, which is especially meaningful as the U.S. Air Force is the parade’s featured service branch this year.
A Memorial Ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with a wreath-laying, flag-raising, 21-gun salute and taps at the Eternal Light Flagstaff in Madison Square Park.
The parade steps off at 11 a.m. from 26th Street and Fifth Avenue and proceeds up Fifth Avenue to 52nd Street.
The Warrior Pride Band will join more than 40,000 participants, including Active Duty military personnel, veterans of every U.S. war since World War II, veterans’ supporters and other marching bands from across the nation. Organizers expect a crowd of upward of 500,000 to view the spectacle.
In addition to the NYC Veterans Day Parade, the Warrior Pride marching band has performed at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, the Miss America Parade in Atlantic City and has led off the prestigious Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington D.C. They have also performed halftime shows at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy-Marine Corps Stadium on the campus of the Naval Academy.
With over 150 members, the Warrior Pride Marching Band consists of 25 percent of the entire student body.
While in New York, the students will also enjoy a dinner cruise and dance from the New York harbor around the Statue of Liberty. They will visit the 9/11 Museum and Memorial and enjoy a performance of the Broadway show “Once on This Island.”
The United War Veterans Council, Inc. produces the New York City Veterans Day Parade.
UWVC is a 501-(c) (19) non-profit organization that honors and supports veterans and their families through advocacy, services, and sustainability programs.