Grand Marshal James T. Callahan
By Irish Echo Staff
James Callahan will have another chance to lead the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade as its grand marshal.
The union leader missed out on his big moment earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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While the parade was cancelled a small number of parade officials marched in Manhattan so as to record for the history books an actual 2020 celebration of St. Patrick. Grand Marshal Callahan, however, was in lockdown and did not take part.
Now, and assuming a 2021 parade does go ahead, he will get his chance to march.
In a statement, the parade board of directors, citing “these extraordinary times of a worldwide pandemic” stated that they had held “a historical meeting Monday September 14th and reaffirmed James T. Callahan as Grand Marshal for the 2021 Parade.”
Said a release: “At the meeting, Sean Lane, Chairman made the motion to reaffirm the 2020 Grand Marshal James Callahan as the 2021 Grand Marshal, a motion that was immediately and enthusiastically seconded by Parade Board member Brendan Benn, who is also a representative of Local 30 IUOE. The motion received the overwhelming support from all board members, and passed unanimously.”
Said Chairman Lane: “It was very disappointing that we were unable to have a normal parade this year due to Covid-19, however we hope that with an effective vaccine we will able to have some type of parade in 2021, so for that reason it was very important that Jim Callahan was reaffirmed as the Grand Marshal.
“I am delighted with the board’s enthusiasm that Jim remains the grand marshal for next year. In our 260-year history, this may be the second time that circumstance warranted such a move by the board.”
Callahan was delighted with his hoped for second go round.
“I am delighted to serve” he said.
“I again thank the board for this great honor. I am so proud to be part of this great and truly iconic parade, and to be selected twice to be the grand marshal is truly magical. I want to congratulate all the aides to the grand marshal who will join me in this great honor next year.
“To the 400,000 men and women that I represent, I want you to know, I am so proud of you and the work that you have done and continue to do on the front lines during this pandemic. I also want you all to know, ‘next year will be better’ and there will be no better place to start to celebrate the end of the pandemic, than in New York with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I look forward to seeing you in 2021, in New York, when we all can hopefully celebrate the end of the pandemic, together and on Fifth Avenue”
Callahan is General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a union that represents over 400,000 men and women in the United States and Canada. His Irish family roots are in County Limerick.