For the first time ever, the 2014 America’s Parade in New York City — the largest Veterans Day event in the country — will have two floats honoring four-legged war heroes on Tuesday.
“This showcases that age-old human-dog bond at its best,” Ryan Hegg, deputy director of the United War Veterans Council, which produces the parade, told the New York Daily News.
Riding on one of the floats will be six military dogs and their handlers, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Along for the ride will be veteran/rapper/actor Ice-T and his wife, Coco.
“I served in the Army and know the life-saving heroism of these dogs,” Ice-T said in a press release. “It is time that we recognize both our human veterans who sacrificed so much and our four-legged veterans who save lives on the battlefield – and at home – every day.”
The float is being sponsored by the American Humane Association and a generous donation from Lois Pope, a singer and heiress to the National Enquirer.
The military dogs “are heroes,” Pope told the Daily News. “They save so many lives.”
The other new float will feature therapy dogs who are working with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
That float is sponsored by the A&E Network, which is also premiering the new documentary series “Dogs of War” on Veterans Day. Each episode will focus on a veteran with PTSD going through the process of working with a therapy dog who has been rescued from a shelter.
“This series is full of raw, real and intensely emotional moments that don’t often get a spotlight in mainstream media,” David McKillop, the A&E Network’s general manager and executive vice president, said in a press release.
Hegg told the Daily News he hopes the two new America’s Parade floats will be “another way to get folks aware of military issues.”
The 2014 America’s Parade begins at 11 a.m. at Park Avenue and 26th Street. It will be broadcast live on FOX5 (WNYW) and streamed on myfoxny.com. A one-hour special about the parade will air Nov. 16 on these channels across the country.
“Dogs of War” premieres on the A&E Network at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Nov. 11, then moves to Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT starting Nov. 16.
Photos via Facebook and unitedwarveterans.org