FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 11, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG HONORS SACRIFICES OF NEW YORK VETERANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS
Country Duo Montgomery Gentry Performs At Pre-Parade Eternal Light Monument Ceremony In Madison Square Park
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Clarice Joynes today paid tribute to New York City veterans and service members by hosting a breakfast at Gracie Mansion and marching in this year's Veterans Day parade. The 2005 Veterans Day Nation's Parade commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Allied Forces in Europe celebrated victory on May 8, 1945 (V-E Day), while Allied Forces in the Pacific celebrated victory on August 15, 1945 (V-J Day). Country music recording duo Montgomery Gentry joined the Mayor in honoring veterans during the pre-parade Veterans Day Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park where they performed their hit song, "Didn't I." Also joining the Mayor during today's Veterans Day activities were U.S. Army Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, Executive Director for the Department of Defense World War II 60th Commemoration Committee, and country music recording star Rockie Lynne.
"In marking the 60th Anniversary since the end of World War II, we pay tribute to the greatest generation of all," said Mayor Bloomberg. "As we honor the sacrifices made by our service men and women of the past, we pray for and remember our country's active duty service personnel who continue to safeguard our freedom and ensure our security. We are also particularly pleased that Montgomery Gentry has joined the City in showing appreciation and honoring the service of New York City veterans."
"With more than 302,000 veterans living in the five boroughs, the Veterans Day Parade gives New Yorkers a unique opportunity to come out and show their support of the women and men who have served, and who continue to serve in our nation's Armed Forces," said Clarice Joynes, Executive Director, Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs. "Montgomery Gentry's support is an important reminder that all Americans, from every part of the country, are united by our duty to honor those who defend the values of this nation - especially those who have given their lives in support of those values."
This year's participation of country music recording duo Montgomery Gentry was made possible by the Country Music Association. The artists are in New York City as part of "Country Takes NYC," a week of themed celebrations leading up to the 2005 CMA Awards, which will be held Tuesday, November 15, 2005 at Madison Square Garden. Montgomery Gentry was named the Country Music Association's Duo of the Year in 2000 and also received the American Music Award for Favorite New Artist in 2000. They also received the 2000 and 2001 Radio & Records Readers' Poll award for Top Country Duo.
The pre-parade Veterans Day Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument commemorated the historic signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, which officially ended to World War I. Country music artist Keni Thomas, a U.S. Army Veteran and a Bronze Star recipient, performed the National Anthem. Wreaths were placed at the base of the monument, followed by a 21-Gun salute and the playing of Taps, honoring veterans, from all wars, who gave their lives in support of the nation. During the ceremony, General Soyster pinned the "Ruptured Duck" on former U.S. Army Master Sergeant Nicholas Oresko, a World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. The "Ruptured Duck" is an official piece of military insignia symbolizing honorable service during World War II. Following the ceremony, Montgomery Gentry and Keni Thomas joined the Mayor as he marched north on Fifth Avenue during the annual New York City Veterans Day Nation's Parade.
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 91,000 World War II veterans currently living in New York City's five boroughs. More than 6,000 reservists, 590 active duty and 2,520 National Guard Members also live in New York City. Since September 11, 2001, six New York City residents have given their lives in support and Operation Enduring Freedom and 33 have given their lives in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For more information on this year's 2005 Veterans Day Nation's Parade, please call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov.
Edward Skyler / Silvia Alvarez (212) 788-2958