Madison Sq Park, NYC
The first row of the audience, reserved for WW-II vets, had a fine view of the VIP stand when the phalanxes of photographers thinned. An old vet in uniform blouse with corporal stripes and medals, grabbed a woman and danced to the marches. Spry, with a cute gap-toothed smile, he attracted many lenses.
Short speeches by VIPs included Mayor Bloomberg, a Coast Guard Admiral, the Korean ambassador, and one of the two Medal of Honor winners present, while others sat silent including Senator Schumer, Congressman Rangel, Police Commissioner Kelly and ex-Mayor Ed Koch, who walks with a cane now and seemed to be asleep some of the time. Showing up at public functions is in his blood.
One of the Medal of Honor winners, a Vietnam vet, recalled returning home to the disdain of the U.S. public, saying that if their country wouldn’t welcome them, they always welcomed each other. His bitterness was still raw.