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Letter from Reader about NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade

Dear Editor,

The New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade is billed as the longest and oldest parade in America, it pre-dates the signing of the Declaration of Independence by fourteen years. But, in recent weeks, the parade has been billed as an exclusive event that will not allow gay marchers. Those of us who actually do participate in the parade (personally I’ve marched for over 30 years) know that the allegations by the current Mayor and mainstream media just are not true. It’s not a day for political statements or further division.

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There is no ban on gays or anyone else in the NYC Parade.

There is a rich history for the NYC Parade that began fourteen years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The parade started Downtown with a group of Irish Militia walking a few blocks to a local Inn, and a tradition was born. To this day, the Fighting 69th lead the marchers up 5th Avenue which is a nod to the early beginnings of where the parade started. Over the years other St. Patrick’s Day parades popped up in other cities around the world, but the NYC Parade continues to stand on its own, there are no floats, not costumes of cartoonish representation, no feel of carnival. It is a dignified parade meant to show your pride in where you come from. A day to remember the sacrifice our forefathers made in order for our society to prevail.

In addition to the schools, para-military, military and local AOH’s that march, all 32 counties are represented by an organization and a banner, you don’t have to be a member of these organizations to march. All they ask is that you follow the parade rules ( and show your Irish pride. No one cares or even asks your sexual orientation, because on March 17th, it doesn’t matter, it’s about being Irish or Irish American.

We as a society continue to find reasons to set ourselves apart from each other. What the parade committee is trying to achieve is a day where all that matters is that you are proud of where you come from, it’s that simple.

Reader from Queens