President Donald J. Trump has accepted an invitation to address the 100th Annual Opening Ceremony of the Veterans Day Parade on Monday, Nov. 11, the White House announced Wednesday.
Following his speech, the president will lay a wreath at the Eternal Light Memorial at Madison Square Park, White House spokesman Judd Deere said.
President Trump will be the first president to kick off the New York City’s Veterans Day Parade.
While presidents have always been invited to the parade, United War Veterans Council Chairman Douglas McGowan said that, as far as he knows, President Trump is the first to accept the invitation.
The White House announcement came days after President Trump who was born in Queens officially changed his primary residence from New York to Florida. The president owns several properties in Florida, including Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, where he spends most of his winter weekends.
But the president will stay to give a speech at the Economic Club on Monday.
“The President has been a great supporter of our veterans and indeed this parade here in New York City for more than 25 years,” said Bill White who is the 2019 Veteran’s Day Parade co-producer, according to the NY Post.
President Trump had helped to raise or donate large sums of money when the parade was struggling.
In 1995, President Trump, as a private citizen, donated $200,000 and wanted to be name parade grand marshal. It appeared that he did not receive that title, according to a New York Times report at the time.
President Trump also gave a $1 million donation in 1985 toward the creation of the city’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 55 Water St.
“What he is doing now as president with regard to veterans choice, funding our military, and holding them and their families in the highest regard is truly extraordinary. He is loved by our veterans for sure,” said White.
In 2017, President Trump spent his first Veterans Day as president overseas in Vietnam in 2017, meeting with veterans there.
However, in 2018, President Trump skipped the ceremony commemorating Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery because he was “extremely busy on calls for the country,” he said.
“I should have done that,” President Trump told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace. “In retrospect, I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year,” said President Trump.
This year’s event expects to draw over 25,000 parade participants. Veterans, active duty military personnel, and their supporters will march along the Fifth Avenue.
President Trump will not be marching in the parade after his opening speech. Instead, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger will be the honorary grand marshal, leading a contingent of Marines up the Fifth Avenue.
Five other grand marshals who will represent five generations of service, from World War II to the Iraq war, will accompany Berger. This will include Herschel “Woody” Williams, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the Marine Corps in World War II.
“This is a day when we put politics aside to focus on honoring our veterans,” said McGowan said in a statement.
It is a day “to re-commit ourselves as a community to providing them [veterans] with the services they have earned, the services they deserve and, for many, the services they were denied,” added McGowan.