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Parade of Ships Gets Underway in New York - 2002-05-23

The 15th annual Fleet Week is underway in New York under the tightest security ever. Six thousand members of the Navy and Marines are arriving at a time when terrorist threats are high.

F-18 military planes flew over the Hudson River as the "Parade of Ships" signaling the beginning of Fleet Week made their ways into port.

Fleet Week is an opportunity for service men and women to come to New York City in the spring and see the sights.

But this Fleet Week is the first since the September 11 terrorist attacks, and it comes amid Tuesday's announcement that terrorists might try to attack the city again.

Still, the sailors and marines who are here say they are looking forward to seeing New York despite any danger. Navy cryptologic maintenance technician Ron Jackson said the military is ready for anything. "You can't be afraid," he said. "There's idiots that call in threats. That doesn't validate them. You've just got to live your life. What's going to happen is going to happen."

And just about all of the crew on board the USS Iwo Jima seem to feel the same way. One sailor said, "I think New York should feel safe with us here, you know?" Another said, "I know that the military is going to do everything to protect its people here and I know we wouldn't be allowed out into this city if the people here and the government didn't know I'd be safe here." A third continued, "I plan on going to see everything that I can see. And no, threats don't scare me."

Even though those arriving for Fleet Week say they're here to have a good time, they are also here to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in last year's terrorist attack at the famous World Trade Center.

Flight deck stand by to render arms while passing the World Trade Center

Many of the military members in New York City for Fleet Week have taken part in "Operation Enduring Freedom," the U.S.-led war against terrorists in Afghanistan.

For those sailors and marines, the New York skyline, though different than last year, is a welcome sight.