President Donald Trump spoke at the annual Veterans Parade in New York City on Monday, paying tribute to American military veterans.
Trump described American veterans as “the greatest warriors to ever walk the face of the earth.”
“Our veterans risked everything for us, now it is our duty to serve and protect them every single day of our lives,” he said.
Trump’s attendance at the ceremony marked the first time a United States president attended the parade in honor of its 100th anniversary. The first parade was held in New York City to celebrate the end of World War I.
Trump recognized several veterans of World War II who were present for the event and led the parade.
“This city is graced by your presence, this nation is forever in your debt and we thank you all,” Trump said.
He recalled the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, America’s bloodiest World War II battle with 47,000 Americans wounded and 19,000 killed.
He specifically recognized 94-year-old Corporal Jack Foy, a native New Yorker who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
Trump also told the story of a prisoner of war Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds who resisted a German attempt to separate the Jews out of their ranks by famously declaring, “We are all Jews here.” One of the Jews who was saved by Edmonds stand was also present for the event as well as Edmonds’ granddaughter.
“From the snow of Valley Forge to the jungles of Vietnam from the forests of Belleau Wood to the beaches of Normandy, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq, that spirit has helped our fighters defeat tyrants, conquer fascism, vanquish communism, and face down terrorism,” Trump said.
Trump also recognized American special forces for taking out the founder of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Those who threaten our people don’t stand a chance against the righteous might of the American military,” he said.
The president gave special tribute to the United States Marines, calling them the “elite masters of air, land, and sea” recalling their 244th birthday on Sunday.
“The few and the proud are always faithful and always win,” Trump said.
The president was joined at the event by First Lady Melania Trump and they both placed a commemorative wreath at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial in honor of America’s veterans.