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Al Smith IV dons his sash

By Ray O'Hanlon

Alfred E. Smith IV was installed as Grand Marshal of the 252nd annual New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade on Thursday evening of last week at a ceremony in the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan.

Smith used the opportunity to pay homage to his great grandfather Al Smith, four-term New York governor, U.S. presidential candidate and the parade grand marshal in 1925.

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Describing his famed great grandfather as a man who was a friend to everyone, the 2013 grand marshal thanked all in the room for the honor bestowed on him and said he was greatly looking forward to leading this year's parade, which will take place on Saturday, March 16 - this as the New York march never takes place on a Sunday.

"I am honored to follow in my great grandfather's footsteps leading the Irish community up Fifth Avenue on March 16th in what is known as the greatest parade in the world," said Smith. Fourteen aides to the grand marshal for this year's parade were also introduced and honored at the installation.

Cardinal Edward Egan, grand marshal in 2002, began the ceremony with an invocation; Dr. John Lahey, vice chairman of the parade and president of Quinnipiac University, introduced all of the honored guests, while Hilary Beirne, chairman of the St Patrick's Day Foundation, and executive secretary of the parade committee, addressed the audience concerning the establishment of the fundraising foundation and outlined some of the future aspirations for the parade.

Parade committee chairman, John Dunleavy, presented Mr. Smith with the official grand marshal's Sash on an evening that also included an address to the gathering by Irish Consul General in New York, Noel Kilkenny.

The parade, which this year will be dedicated to the Covenant House children's charity, starts at 44th Street and proceeds to 79th Street on Fifth Avenue. It will step off on March 16 at 11 a.m.