NEW YORK (NNS) -- Two Sailors and eight other military service members were given the honor of lowering the ball in Times Square Dec. 31 during the 2007 New Year's Eve celebration.
Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Liliana G. Perez, assigned as a K-9 handler at Naval Weapons Station Earle, N.J., and Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Oswaldo San Andres, assigned to the Navy Operational Support Center Amityville, N.Y., were chosen to represent the Navy during the New Year's festivities.
"All the freedoms that we have enjoyed throughout 2006 were won by the military, the men and women serving now and over the past 225 years," said New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who chose to honor military service members at this year's ceremony. "When we ask our young people to stand up there are a great many of them that bravely volunteer-- from NYPD (New York Police Department) to the military."
Greeted by applause and cheers from the approximately one million people in Times Square, the military service members were escorted down Broadway and interviewed by reporters with Carson Daly's show on NBC.
"New York is an incredibly supportive city. Just walking though the streets tonight you can tell how much the New Yorkers appreciate the men and women serving in the military," said San Andres.
Perez was asked by reporters what her New Year's resolutions were and while she didn't have a resolution she did have a message for Sailors currently deployed.
"I'm just praying that everyone returns safely and that they know our thoughts are with them right now," said Perez who returned from Iraq in August.
"This is the most fun I've ever had and by far the most memorable New Year's Eve," said San Andres, who took the opportunity to propose, live on NBC to his girlfriend Yeoman 3rd Class Danielle Pagliarulo, who accepted immediately. San Andres leaves in January for a one-year individual augmentation to Iraq.
Escorted by the Times Square Alliance Talent Regular, Hollis Kam, the service members were invited to a pre and post-party New Year's event and had the opportunity to meet various celebrities.
"I'm responsible for making sure these special guests are taken care of and arrive where they need to be when it comes time to push the button [for the Times Square ball to drop]," said Kam.
There were a number of additional Sailors throughout the crowd in Times Square that came to the city for New Year's Eve.
"We're here just having a fun time," said Machinist Mate 3rd Class (SS) Killian Fischer, who had traveled to New York from Norfolk, Va.
As the clock reached midnight all cameras were pointed at the stage as the service members helped Bloomberg press the button lowering the Times Square ball.
"You can't describe the feeling. There are no words or pictures to describe it. The experience was just breathtaking," said Perez. "My legs are still shaking."
For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.