USAF performs in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Honor Guardsmen hold banner

U.S. Air Force Honor Guard members hold a banner as they marched during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 23, 2017. Approximately 200 honor guard and band members took part in the world’s largest parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Guardsman looks down parade line

A U.S. Air Force Honor Guard member looks down the parade line while waiting to march through New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 23, 2017. Approximately 200 honor guard and band members took part in the parade, which began in 1924. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Band member practices

Master Sgt. Joshua Cullum, U.S. Air Force Band euphonist, practices before marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 23, 2017. Cullum was one of approximately 200 honor guard and band members who took part in the parade. This was the second time the U.S. Air Force participated in the parade, which began in 1924. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Col. Lang marches in parade

Col. Larry Lang, U.S. Air Force Band commander, marches in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 23, 2017. Lang was one of 200 Air Force representatives to march 2 1/2 miles in the 91st annual parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Crowd members watch band march

Crowd members watch as the U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard march through New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 23, 2017. More than 50 million people watched the 91st annual parade. This was the second year the U.S. Air Force participated in this event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Band and Honor Guard march in parade

U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and Band members march in New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 23, 2017. Throughout the parade, band members played patriotic music including the Air Force Song. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Band and Honor Guard march in parade

Members of the U.S. Air Force band march during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade through the streets of New York City, Nov. 23, 2017. Approximately 200 Honor Guard and Band members took part in the world’s largest parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Honor Guardsmen march in parade

Airman 1st Class Carlos Gomez, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard member, marches during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 23, 2017. Approximately 200 honor guard and band members represented the U.S. Air Force during the 91st annual parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

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.”