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Early Veterans Day Ceremony In Manhattan Pays Tribute To Women

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A ceremony was held Tuesday in Central Park ahead of Veterans Day to honor the women who served the nation.

Most Veterans Day events have either gone virtual or been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but some groups are still celebrating in smaller numbers outside.

The event was held at a special location -- a grove of 24 trees spanning from 69th to 71st streets along Fifth Avenue that were planted back in 1925 as a tribute to American women who served during World War I.

"When you think of women from World War I, gave their lives. Think about it for a second. They didn't have the right to vote and yet they served their country," said Mary Caraccioli, chief communications officer for the Central Park Conservancy.

"Bravery is nothing new for American women. American women have been serving in war zones since the American Revolution, where they dressed up as men so that they could serve," Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar added.

The origin of the grove had been forgotten about for decades, but the memorial was rediscovered through research last year.

Tuesday's ceremony honored military servicewomen, health care workers and volunteers, like Red Cross members.

"Today, we recognize the all-important role of women in the war effort. With millions of men away from home, women filled manufacturing and agriculture positions on the home front," one speaker said. "Others provided support on the front lines as nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, translators and, in rare cases, on the battlefield."

"Women also make up approximately 10% of the current veteran population -- the fastest growing demographic," another speaker added.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. I wanted to be a part of something greater than myself," veteran J. Gayle Gamon said.


U.S. Marines also tied thousands of yellow ribbons around trees along Third Avenue and 49th Street. They were joined by Tony Orlando, whose famous song goes, "Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree."

Organizers hoped to wrap 200,000 trees in ribbons -- one for every New York City veteran -- in time for Veterans Day on Wednesday.

So even though there won't be big parades, there will still be reminders to thank someone who served.

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