NORFOLK—Thousands of visitors took to the streets of Norfolk Saturday for the NATO Fest Parade.
This is the 60th anniversary of NATO headquarters being in Norfolk. The 28 nations paraded down Waterside Dr. before a big crowd.
There is a new sense of security at outdoor events in Norfolk this weekend after the Boston marathon bombing. NATO festival officials made sure they were prepared to keep people safe.
"We have heightened awareness. If they see something that looks out of place, if they see something that's not right, we need to speak up. There's plenty of police presence, and they need to know we need to help them,” Alex Pincus, NATO fest chairman said.
There is NATO fest and there is the International Tattoo in downtown Norfolk this weekend. With about 40,000 people over the three day period, security is top priority.
"Well it does cross your mind, but if the American public doesn't keep living their lives, then our way of life will just stop. So everybody from children all the way to adults needs to be aware of what's around them and who's around them,” Dianne Adcock of Chesapeake said.
13News military reporter Mike Gooding served as master of ceremonies at the parade. In attendance was the head Allied Command Transformation General Jen-Paul Palomeros who commented on how sequestration in the US might impact the 27 other NATO members. "So our role here today is really to try to coordinate all that and to balance the different efforts in order to avoid major gaps in our capabilities."
Palomeros went on to explain that ballistic missile defense in Europe also affects Norfolk based ships, sailors, marines and their families. “Help and the support of the United States is so important for the time being before the European countries can build their own assets to protect themselves."