JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
NEW YORK – Millions of people watched the U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard march through the streets of New York City during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 23.
Being a part of the world’s largest parade gave both a chance to make an impact on people in the U.S. and around the globe.
“Performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was a magnificent opportunity to showcase Air Force excellence to a worldwide audience as part of a very positive, uplifting American tradition,” said Col. Larry Lang, U.S. Air Force Band commander. “The Air Force Band and Honor Guard strive to represent the skill and professionalism of all Airmen each and every day and the Macy's parade was a perfect opportunity for us to do that.”
This was the second time approximately 200 band and honor guard members have participated in the 2 ½ mile-long parade that reaches more than 50 million people worldwide.
“I loved everything about [the U.S. Air Force’s performance],” said Barb Stuart, a parade viewer. “I just want to thank each one of you one for your service, lifting our spirits and reminding us how much we have to be grateful for: being safe and free because of the U.S. Air Force and the brilliant men and women who serve."
The parade’s 91-year history has been a big part of Americana, from its iconic balloons and brightly colored floats to the live broadcast performances by the Rockettes and marching bands.
For many honor guardsmen and band members, like Staff Sgt. Scott Zawacki, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman, being a performer in the national event was unforeseen before joining the military.
“I remember watching the parade on TV every year growing up and never once thought I would be in it,” Zawacki said. “Seeing the floats and giant balloons in person and to be there representing the U.S. Air Force, it was truly an honor.”
From beginning to end, onlookers gave words of encouragement and appreciation to the band and honor guard as they played music and displayed precision through the streets of New York City.
“It was a really great feeling to hear the crowds of people thanking us for our service,” said Master Sgt. Brian Stiles, U.S. Air Force Band trumpeter. “It was very evident from their cheers and chanting of ‘USA! USA! USA!’ during the entire parade route that our presence and service was very much appreciated.”