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“We’re Celebrating Ourselves” - Pandemic’s ‘Unsung Heroes Honored’ In New York City Ticker Tape Parade For Front Line COVID-19 Workers

Published Thursday, July 8, 2021
by Brittany Kriegstein, Maggie Flahive & Larry McShane/New York Daily News
“We’re Celebrating Ourselves” - Pandemic’s ‘Unsung Heroes Honored’ In New York City Ticker Tape Parade For Front Line COVID-19 Workers

(NEW YORK CITY) – New York City’s unsung Pandemic Heroes swapped the darkness of COVID-19 for the sunshine along the Canyon of Heroes at a rousing ticker-tape parade where New Yorkers cheered the selfless Workers’ inspiring courage and commitment.

An array of Night Shift Nurses, Volunteer Charity Workers, Teachers, Transportation Employees, Cops and other Hometown Heroes marched Wednesday (July 7th) in the footsteps of Yankees star Derek Jeter and South African leader Nelson Mandela, their joyous walk up Broadway a welcome change from the long hard road spawned by the arrival of the Coronavirus in March 2020.

“We are out here celebrating ourselves,” said Michelle Medina, who turned out with two fellow Respiratory Therapists from Mt. Sinai Hospital. “It took a village, a team to be here today - and we are just here to appreciate everyone and celebrate everyone who has been on this team.”

Grand Marshal Sandra Lindsay, the Director of nursing at Northwell Health in Queens, rode in a vintage convertible at the head of the parade.

Lindsay, the first U.S. recipient of a COVID vaccine last December 14th, beamed at the folks lined up along the parade route.

“Thank you, New York!,” she shouted while waving at the crowd on the sidewalks of Lower Manhattan.

And the people responded in kind: “THANK YOU!”

Kathleen Liggio, 63 an Investigator with the city Medical Examiner’s Office, noted she and her colleagues worked long hours under the city’s radar during the length of the debilitating health crisis that killed more than 33,000 New Yorkers.

“We don’t get or look for recognition,” she said. “But we were there, we work hard, and I feel this is a day for us, too.  We should all be recognized.”

Liggio was overwhelmed by the sight of fellow Front Line Workers assembled on a sweltering morning with temperatures climbing toward 90 degrees.

The parade featured 14 floats and 10 bands in the first such celebration since the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team was honored in 2019 for its second consecutive World Cup victory.

“This is not even a once in a lifetime thing,” Liggio said. “Many people don’t (ever) see this. When you think of all the greats that have been through the ‘Canyon of Heroes,’ this is unbelievable really.”

Denise Palmer of 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Healthcare Workers East recalled following in the career footsteps of her mother.

“My mom has worked for thirty years,” said Palmer, a five-year Union Veteran. “They are the real heroes, they were on the front lines.  We are here to celebrate and just be grateful.”

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