Organizers say some 35,000 people marched through the Upper East Side as part of the 50th annual Celebrate Israel Parade Sunday. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
Chants, cheers and music kept the party going on Fifth Avenue from 57th to 74th Streests for the Celebrate Israel Parade—now in it's 50th year.
Aggie Siletski says she remembers walking in the very first parade when she was just a little girl.
"I must have been in 5th grade," Siletski says. "I remember coming on the bus and lining up. We've come every year since. Even when I was in college outside of the area college was done by then. The year I got engaged, we came here, then we got engaged. "
Howard Rosman walked in the parade back in the 60s. He says he came to see his son, a West Hempstead firefighter, also walk in the parade, just like he did.
"About 50 years ago, during my college years, I walked in the parade. After I got married, and our kids marched in the parade with their schools, and now we are happy to see my son marching as a firefighter," Rosman says. "His kids were on the fire truck he brought from West Hempstead and it was fun to see them marching in the parade."
For the bands, marching groups and schools represented here, tradition and culture were important.
Parade goers say it's not just a march up Fifth Avenue, though; it's a message of hope for peace in the democratic country that has experienced ongoing political turmoil.
"Losing blood is terrible, war is terrible. Some people don't feel the same way, but we do. We want peace so that people don't have to die for it," Siletski says.
Younger parade goers agreed, expressing the importance of passing along the hope for peace and democracy.
"So that the Americans and Israelis see that we support Israel and that we can continue to help each other out in a coined alliance of those that want to destroy democracy," says one teen participant.
Organizers say some 35,000 marchers participated in the parade.
They say that's a lot more than the first one 50 years ago.