Remembering Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade After 9/11

A view over the 2001 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade shows formally dressed emergency responders carrying two long American flags down an avenue in Manhattan.
A view from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 2001. Photograph courtesy of Sherry Cohen.

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is a popular New York tradition. Known for its line-up of oversized balloons that float above Central Park West to Herald Square, the event marks the beginning of the holiday season for many Americans. Since the inaugural event in 1924, the parade has only been suspended from 1942-1944 while World War II raged overseas.

After September 11, 2001, as a part of an effort to find a sense of normalcy, the beloved Thanksgiving tradition endured. The event was marked with an undertone of grief as downtown recovery workers combed the pile at Ground Zero for any trace of those who were lost the attacks that had occurred only a few months before.

In a show of patriotic solidarity, first responders marched in the parade carrying two American flags. From above, the flags took the form of the fallen Twin Towers. This year, we look back 15 years and remember.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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