When the green breaks in New York City
WAVE. The Irish flag has floated again over New York City today where countless marchers and spectators have taken to the streets for the 258th St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year’s parade theme celebrated immigration.
Bagpipes, dancers and marching bands joined in the largest American celebration of Irish heritage on Saturday, with tens of thousands of marchers following a painted green line up Fifth Avenue for the six-hour procession. For family and friends, only one color was required for the oldest Parade in the world, green from head to toe.
The 2019 parade was on Saturday — not March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, a Sunday this year — because of an old tradition not to disturb Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which the parade route passes.
This year’s parade theme celebrated immigration, with the Grand Marshal being Brian O'Dwyer, a veteran activist and immigration lawyer who among other things helped found the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens (EIIC).
"My grandmother had come to New York from Galway, Ireland, when she was just 16 years old, driven by starvation", told Brian O'Dwyer to NBC 4 New York. "She was a maid at one of New York's largest mansions on 54th Street. One hundred years later, her grandson is marching by that very same mansion," he said. "I'm going to stop and say a prayer for her.”
O'Dwyer said five Latino immigrants who work with the Emerald Isle Immigration Center will march with him "as a symbol of the solidarity between all immigrants," and added that he appreciated how this year's theme recognized the work he has dedicated years to.
"Today, I feel like an Irish because we have different roots but we are all migrants in this country, said Linda with a large smile a big green hat on the top of her head as enjoying the pipe bands on the 5th Avenue. I'm a Colombian-American and I'm really happy to celebrate this special day."
Parade marchers were greeted by Cardinal Timothy Dolan as they passed by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He also presided over the traditional pre-parade morning Mass.
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