After being cancelled last year, "Fleet Week" has returned to the city, offering a unique opportunity to meet sailors, Marines and members of the U.S. Coast Guard and get a first hand look at America's maritime services. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.
It's a display of America's maritime military power for New Yorkers and tourists to see.
"You just have no idea of their size when they are so far away they come closer it's just amazing how large they are," said one "Fleet Week" ship onlooker.
The Parade of Ships marked the official kick off of New York's "Fleet Week" 2014. Three Navy ships and two Coast Guard cutters sailed into New York Harbor Wednesday before docking for the rest of the week.
"You don't get a chance to see a Navy ship in front of the Statue of Liberty all that often, thought it would be a good chance," said one onlooker.
The USS Cole led the procession. The Navy ship was attacked by al-Qaeda suicide bombers in Yemen less than a year before the 9/11 attacks. Seventeen U.S. sailors died. Seeing the ship reminded New Yorkers about the importance of honoring our military men and women.
"It's what Memorial Weekend is all about. I don't think people appreciate it as much as they should," said one onlooker.
Jose Gonzales of the Bronx has a son stationed on the Cole. During "Fleet Week", he will get to see him for the first time in about four months .
"I am really proud of him he decided to join the Navy and I support him, he makes me proud to be an American, so is he," Gonzales said.
"Fleet Week" was canceled last year because of the federal budget standoff. This year it returns but smaller than years past. People who lined up in Battery Park City for a view of the Parade of Ships say it's an important tradition that should continue.
"It just brings back the patriotism. I grew up with a World War II father so, you know, they put it into your system," said one onlooker.
Three of the ships will be stationed on Staten Island and two at Pier 92 in Manhattan. Public tours will be available Thursday through Monday.
For all "Fleet Week" events, visit fleetweeknewyork.com.