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Parade Preceded Event of 9/11/01

Greenpoint was saluting patriotism…before it became fashionable!

We apologize to those residents of Manhattan Avenue who were awakened by the sounds of the Knights of Columbus Pipe Band, leading a Veterans Memorial Parade on a Sunday morning last year. On second thought, NO we don’t! We make NO apologies for rallying this community around the Flag and showing our appreciation to our military Veterans, living and deceased.

On the contrary, stand up and pat yourself on the back, Greenpoint! Long before the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center and the first military units deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, the little hamlet of Greenpoint was already saying “thanks” and wearing its patriotism on its sleeve! Only in Greenpoint, in May of 2001, did you see the Flags, so proudly displayed everywhere today, hanging from the windows and fire escapes along Manhattan Avenue, before doing so became so necessary and one would daresay, so “trendy.”

A tip of the hat is certainly in order to our local St. Stanislaus Memorial Post, American Legion, and the various Councils of the Knights of Columbus – Lexington, Fidelity, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Holy Family – for reminding us several months before 9/11 that it was appropriate to applaud and thank our Veterans. It’s too bad that no one snapped a picture of the parade near one of the intersections, so we could today see the Twin Towers of the Trade Center looking down admiringly in the background.

America’s innocence may have been lost since that Parade, but it’s spirit and awareness of the debt we owe our Veterans has been rekindled. Regardless of age, we have all now lived through a “Pearl Harbor.” We can relate to some of our older Veterans who have now had to live through it twice! We have witnessed an armed enemy attempt to take away our freedom, not on the fields of some far away country, but right at the corner of Church and, (ironically), Liberty Streets, right across the river!

Remember the feelings of comfort and confidence that came over us late on 9/11 when we heard the Air Force F-16′s start patrolling the skies? And as we saw warships of the Navy’s 2nd Fleet arrive off the coast of the Rockaways? And as Coast Guard cutters moored in front of the Statue of Liberty and dared the terrorists to try their luck again?
Oh, the bagpipes, the Civil War Re-enactors, some new military units and equipment, and the Veterans of all the wars will march, just like last year. But this year, we challenge this neighborhood to come out in full force to show our support for our military forces at war and our uniformed services so savagely decimated last year.

Please consider this a blanket invitation for every organization in Greenpoint to take its place, behind its banner and Old Glory, in the line of march! Let’s once again fill that massive Church with a Flag alongside every pew in the center aisle!
We invite each of our local schools, public and private, to be represented by a contingent of their students. What a wonderful Civics lesson! We encourage our local Police and Fire stations to form up their Fire Engines, Emergency Trucks, and Medical Response vehicles in the line of march. We want to give our neighborhood, once again, the chance to cheer you loudly as you pass by!

We invite every merchant on Manhattan Avenue to post the American Flag and even a homemade sign of Congratulations to our Veterans and Uniformed Services in their store windows. That was done in Queens for our young Olympic skating champion. Our Veterans, Firefighters and Police deserve no less! We ask every resident of Manhattan Avenue to fill every window with a real or cardboard Flag, and once again proudly fly the Flag off their fire escapes.

Finally, we invite every man, woman and child in this beloved, historic and patriotic neighborhood to line the streets of Manhattan Avenue on the morning of May 28th and make enough noise so they’ll here us in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and anywhere else where terrorists might be plotting their next moves! There will probably be some new parades in other neighborhoods this year but remember, Greenpoint did it first!

(If your organization wishes to participate in the parade, or if you are aware of any band, organization or group wanting to express their pride in America with a marching contingent, float or vehicle, please contact either JIM FEITH of the American Legion at 349-6890, or RICK KENNEY of Lexington Council, Knights of Columbus at 389-9853.)