NYC Thanksgiving parade starts a bit late this year

Image copyright Reuters Image caption On Saturday, the annual parade will run up the avenue to its start at 12th Street

With pilgrims, Native Americans and some of America’s top marching bands on the streets, the New York City Thanksgiving Day Parade is back again.

Thanksgiving 2017 will not be going off without a hitch, after a blizzard caused severe delays. The 63rd annual parade, held on New York’s famous Upper West Side, also involves a salute to veterans, as it has for more than 50 years.

With subway service back to normal on Saturday, it is only a matter of hours before millions flock to New York’s Upper West Side for the festivities.

But how and where did the Thanksgiving parade start?

First Lady Melania Trump and Jared Kushner wave at President Donald Trump as he travels to the White House after the parade’s start

The parade began in 1943, under orders from President Franklin D Roosevelt, to show support for the fighting troops stationed at Manhattan’s far West Side.

The sight of the troops marching was a morale booster as World War II was slowly coming to an end, according to Parade Magazine.

For the first few years, the parade was in lower Manhattan, but as thousands of marching troops flooded the streets, Roosevelt ordered that a better location be found and the parade moved up to New York’s Upper West Side.

See more behind-the-scenes photos from the 82nd annual NYC parade

First lady Eleanor Roosevelt, daughter Edith Herring and first lady Eleanor Hinton are among those who marched in the first parade

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Some of the 1,700 horses in the parade are officially authorised by the New York SPCA

“My mother was the oldest living person and first lady at the time,” Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Edith Herring told Parade Magazine.

“She helped plan and organize the parade and was on the reviewing stand at the start of it. She wore her suit on duty – it was only a rehearsal for the parade,” Edith Herring said.

The parade actually started at the corner of 72nd Street and Broadway, and while it is ultimately held up on Avenue of the Americas, it started at this very location a few years ago.

The parade’s route takes in a number of landmarks around Manhattan

Shirley Temple, one of the parade’s first stars, kicked off the parade in 1943

Image copyright Al Bello/Getty Images Image caption The parade still requires close coordination from the New York Police Department to bring it to the desired finish line

New York City’s police force – who ‘fill in’ the ceremonial roles played by drummers and clarinetists – need to be ready for every eventuality

Image copyright Al Bello/Getty Images Image caption NYPD officers ‘show’ some good sportsmanship before their responsibilities take over

The parade also carries several references to the United States’ many wars, as well as its postwar cause for thanks.

In keeping with the theme of the parade, there is a tribute to the group “Flanders Fields”, for the remains of more than 9,000 servicemen killed in the Second World War.

Image copyright Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Image caption Surrounded by the wounded soldiers on their way to recovery in the 1940s, Evel Knievel claims to have tried out a half-pipe with the help of a frozen Popsicle

Even on the German side of the war, the cause for thanks is shown in the removal of swastikas from statue terra cotta headstones.

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