Today marks the beginning of the 24th annual Fleet Week in New York City with a parade of military vessels sailing up the Hudson river.

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said to the AP, this was a reflection of the Navy's work responding to natural disasters and military conflicts worldwide.

Among the 9 paricipating ships are the USS Iwo Jima and the USS New York, whose hull was forged with steel from the World Trade Center. This year's number of participating ships has been reduced.

Ray Mabus explained that the U.S. Navy is very busy. He said that some of the U.S. ships from Afghanistan were moved to Japan to deliver medical assistance to the victims of the last powerful earthquake and tsunami. Some ships were deployed to Libya, and other boats conducted drug interdictions from the Gulf of Mexico to the Horn of Africa and South Pacific.

During the parade, the boats cruised under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, one by one.

They exchanged a gun salute as they passed Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, then paused to honor the victims of 9/11 as they approached Lower Manhattan.

Eight ships are coming to anchor for Fleet Week. Five, including the New York, will be moored on Staten Island, while the others will dock in Manhattan, bringing 3,000 sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen to the Big Apple, CBS reported.

It is indicative that this year the USS New York will participate in the event. Some 7/5 tones from the destroyed World Trade Center were used in the construction of the amphibious transport ship. It returns to New York City for the first time since being commissioned elswhere on November 7, 2009. The vessel will be open for public visits during Fleet Week, which concludes June 1.