After the Paris attacks that killed 130 people, the Islamic State group threatened New York in a propaganda video showing images of Times Square and Herald Square. However, fears about terrorism are not stopping anyone from participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
Around 3.5 million are expected to fill the streets for the three-hour event on Thursday, November 26, 2015, which will be broadcast across the nation as the country of 321 million marks the public holiday.
‘After the Paris attacks, the Islamic State group threatened New York in a propaganda video. However, this did not stopping anyone from participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Around 3.5 million are expected to fill the streets for the three-hour event.’
AdvertisementSince 1924, the parade has kicked off the holiday season. This week around 8,000 people will walk the 2.5 mile (four-kilometer) route with giant balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and celebrities, watched by around 50 million people at home.
An extra 1,300 counter-terrorism and crowd-control police officers will be deployed on Thursday, but the heightened security is doing nothing to dampen spirits.
The small town of Walton, Indiana was overjoyed when students in the Lewis Cass High School Marching Kings band were selected for the first time to take part in this year's parade.
John Sayers, interim superintendent of the regional Southeastern School Corporation, said, "I'm sure that's on people's mind with the tragedy that occurred in Paris."
But he doesn't know of anyone who didn't want their children to walk the parade from Central Park to Macy's department store.
The party of around 140 band members, accompanied by around 60 parents, has already left for New York. Sayers says a couple of hundred other people will travel independently to join them.
Sayers said, "From a small community that's just a great feather in their cap and people are pleased and excited. Nearly everyone in the community and the area, if they weren't able to go, they will be watching the parade on TV."
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and police commissioner Bill Bratton have said repeatedly that there is no specific threat. Bratton is so convinced the parade will pass off peacefully that he is flying in his three- and five-year-old grandchildren from Los Angeles and intends to watch with them.
Braton said, "It's going to be a great event, and it will be a safe and secure event."
Macy's said, "we are working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement on comprehensive security plans for Thursday. As with any public event in New York City, security elements are extensive - from the very visible presence of law enforcement officers to wide-ranging behind-the-scenes security operations."
The Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjack Marching Band, from Nacogdoches, Texas is chartering two planes to ferry the 304 men and women taking part all the way to New York.
Fred Allen, director of bands at the university, said, "It's worth it for the opportunity to be part of something so iconic as the Macy's Parade and in the best city in the United States. They're very excited. Everyone in America grows up knowing about the Macy's Day parade," he added. "We have full confidence in the security that is in place."
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced that 46 new police officers would be added to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to strengthen counter-terrorism patrols, and unveiling a new app to report suspicious activity.
Cuomo said, "We have stepped up our preparedness in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and we continue to remain vigilant against those who seek to spread fear and violence."