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Yes, a great day

As is the case every year, the visitors from Ireland came in droves, many of them on political and economic missions, but also just to have a look at how America marks its very own big Irish day.

The hard times that are in it would lead us to believe that there would be a crimp or two in the celebratory plans of all too many, but that sure wasn't evident at the White House on St. Patrick's night; it wasn't evident on Fifth Avenue earlier in the day, and it wasn't evident in countless towns and cities across the fifty states.

And as for those parades! The number of them around the nation keeps growing and it is interesting and encouraging to see the pride that organizers of parades take in the longevity as much as the length of their particular marches.

Yes, we have Philadelphia snapping at the heels of New York in the oldest parade stakes, but many, many other parades are now proudly proclaiming a history stretching back in some cases just a handful of years - but laying claim to a history nevertheless.

This is important because, and especially in economically challenged times, people, communities and those who divvy up budgets do sometimes need reminding that there is more so some traditions than just the dollars and cents aspect.

That said, financial reality is hard to ignore, even if just for a day. In the case of the New York Parade there is seemingly an increasing need for community and corporate sponsorship for an event that continues to grow, this despite the city's stated desire to cut the length of the parade in future years and restrict its time on the avenue.

Good luck with that. It will be interesting indeed to see how New York City and the parade organizers deal with next year's march, the 250th consecutive, an event that, in easier economic times, would be expected to be the biggest and longest ever. Already there have been calls for the 250th to be given an exemption from the new restrictions. It will be interesting indeed to see what is decided in the coming months.

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