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America’s Parade Welcomes Kelly

Ray Kelly, a vet who saw action in Vietnam in 1965, will lead this year’s parade.

Ray Kelly, a vet who saw action in Vietnam in 1965, will lead this year’s parade.

Former New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, has been named Grand Marshal of the 2014 America’s Parade, the New York City Veterans Day Parade, United War Veterans Council President Vincent McGowan announced.

Kelly, the longest serving police commissioner in New York City history, was a Marine Corps lieutenant, commanding troops in combat in Vietnam in 1965. He went on to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves, retiring after 30 years with the rank of colonel.

Vietnam vet, former police chief is grand marshal

“It is a great honor — and long overdue — that we honor Commissioner Ray Kelly for his service as a Marine in Vietnam and for his half a century of dedicated service to the people of New York,” said McGowan, also a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War.

“From his start as a beat cop to his service as Police Commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins and then under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ray Kelly became the most highly-regarded law enforcement official in the world and a global leader in the war on terrorism. At heart, he is a cop — a cop’s cop — who never stopped working to keep us safe.”

“I accept this honor on behalf of all my brother and sister veterans, those like me, who were able to come back to a rewarding life, those who came back sorely wounded, or those who never came back,” Kelly said. “I especially want to honor those who combined service to our nation with service to our city, the veterans in the NYPD, the Finest of the Finest.

“It is fitting that we also honor the veterans of tomorrow, the men and women serving today in defense of our principals of peace and freedom which we hold so dear.”

Kelly will lead America’s Parade, the largest celebration of service in the nation, when more than 25,000 thousand participants, including active military members, veterans of every U.S. war since World War II and marching bands from across the nation, march up Fifth Avenue on Nov. 11, the 95th anniversary of the first Veterans Day Parade.

Veterans Week, starting Nov. 1, includes several events honoring veterans, especially Marine Corps, and explores issues important to them. Events include the Marine Corps Birthday Dinner, marking the 239th anniversary of the founding of the Corps. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the incoming Commandant of the Marine Corps, also has been invited to attend the Veterans Day Parade.

America’s Parade will be broadcast in New York and major cities across the country and on Armed Forces TV to every U.S. military installation and ship in the world.

The first person to rise from Police Cadet to Police Commissioner, Kelly spent 47 years in the New York Police Department, serving in 25 different commands and as Police Commissioner from 1992 to 1994 under Mayor Dinkins and from 2002 to 2013 under Mayor Bloomberg.  He also served as Director of Police under the United Nations Mission in Haiti and as an Interpol Vice President. During the administration of President Bill Clinton, Kelly served as Treasury Department Under Secretary for Enforcement and as Customs Service Commissioner.

Commissioner Kelly holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Manhattan College, a Juris Doctor from St. John’s University School of Law, a Master of Laws from New York University Graduate School of Law and a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has been awarded honorary degrees from the Catholic University of America, Manhattan College, St. John’s University, the State University of New York, the College of St. Rose, Iona College, Marist College, New York University, Pace University, Quinnipiac University and St. Thomas Aquinas College.

In September 2006, Commissioner Kelly was awarded France’s highest decoration, the Legion D’Honneur, by then French Minister of the Interior Nicholas Sarkozy.

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