(NEW YORK) — Wednesday is a day of celebration as New York City gears up for a ticker tape parade honoring the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hometown Heroes Parade starts at 11 a.m. along the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan, about 16 months after New York City became the nation’s first COVID-19 epicenter.

The parade is a way “to celebrate and appreciate the heroes who often go unsung,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said last month.

“Floats for health care workers, first responders, educators, municipal workers, transportation workers, grocery and bodega workers, delivery people, you name it,” the mayor said. “All the essential workers who made it happen.”

Here is how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Jul 07, 8:49 am
Pittsburgh nurse who came to NYC for COVID returns to ride on float

Justin Davis, a traveling nurse with AMN Healthcare, left his wife and three children behind in Pittsburgh to care for COVID-19 patients in an overwhelmed Manhattan hospital when the pandemic began.

“Never seen anything like it,” said Davis, who trained as an Army field medic and has been a nurse for 17 years. “I had more bodies, not enough people to take care. There were unqualified people there because there was nobody else.”

When New York’s crisis subsided, he moved to COVID hot spots in Orlando and Buffalo.

He will ride atop one of 14 floats that will make its way through the shower of confetti on Wednesday.

Davis told ABC News the parade is also a way to put his pandemic work behind him.

“I’ll accept the thanks,” he said.

Jul 07, 7:53 am
Ceremony scaled back due to heat

The City Hall ceremony at the end of the parade will be “a much smaller, stripped down version” than originally planned due to the heat, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday.

“We will be greeting the marchers at the end of the parade and thanking them,” de Blasio said. “Not a big ceremony, but the parade itself of course will be the central salute to our heroes.”

“We will be adding additional cooling centers and water stations along the route,” the mayor added.

Jul 07, 7:24 am
New York to hold first ticker tape parade in two years

Ticker tape parades along the Canyon of Heroes are a historical part of New York City. These parades have honored people from Amelia Earhart in 1932 to Winston Churchill in 1946. The most recent ticker tape parade was in 2019 for the U.S. women’s national soccer team after they won the World Cup.

“Ticker tape parades up the Canyon of Heroes, they’ve happened for generations,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said last month. “But this one will have a special spirit to it, a special heart and soul, because it’s about celebrating everyday New Yorkers who did something heroic and need our thanks.”

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