NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Thousands of supporters of Israel surrounded New York City’s Fifth Avenue at 11 a.m. on Sunday for the annual Celebrate Israel Parade.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials were among the participants at Sunday’s parade.

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WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

The parade celebrated the birth of the Jewish state in 1948, and it drew tens of thousands of spectators and participants to Midtown.

“You don’t have to be Jewish to celebrate Israel,” Michael Miller of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “Israel is the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

Debbie Smith of Bangor, Pennsylvania took part in the march, and she certainly got her exercise by pulling a wagon with two seven year olds across Fifth Avenue.

“It’s a meaning of solidarity and togetherness,” Smith explained. “We’re showing that we all support Israel and we’re celebrating Israel.”

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Parade goers shared their memories of past Celebrate Israel Parade’s with CBS 2’s Dick Brennan.

“I used to march in this parade when I was a little girl, so it’s really cool to watch them today,” said Carla Alani.

This year’s theme was “Israel Branches Out.” The parade, which concluded at 4 p.m., celebrated agriculture as well as creative growth in fields such as technology.

Did you take part in the parade? What was the scene like? Share your stories and comments in the section below…

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