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Black Tie International:
NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade Gala Cocktail Reception



Geri  O'Connor, Daniella O'Connor, Kevi O'Connor and Isabella O'Connor
 

Geri, Daniella, Kevi and Isabella O'Connor

NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade Gala
Cocktail Reception 2012


Photos by: Joyce Brooks/Blacktiemagazine.com

 Hosted by Greg Kelly, FOX 5, “Good Day New York”

 Hosted by Greg Kelly, FOX 5, “Good Day New York” 
 

Celtic Woman (Chloë Agnew, Lisa Lambe, Lisa Kelly and Celtic violinist Máiréad Nesbitt) with Honoree Frank Comerford, Grand Marshal for the 2012 Parade and Chief Revenue Officer and President of Commercial Operations for NBC Owned Television Stations

Celtic Woman (Chloë Agnew, Lisa Lambe, Lisa Kelly and Celtic violinist Máiréad Nesbitt) with Honoree Frank Comerford, Grand Marshal for the 2012 Parade and Chief Revenue Officer and President of Commercial Operations for NBC Owned Television Stations.

The Celtic Tenors

The Celtic Tenors

Paul Byrom

Paul Byrom

Michael T. English

Michael T. English

Five Services U.S. Military Color Guard

Five Services U.S. Military Color Guard

The NYPD Pipes and Drums

The NYPD Pipes and Drums

The Keltic Dreams

The Keltic Dreams

The Broesler School of Irish Dance

The Broesler School of Irish Dance

Edward Cardinal Egan

Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop Emeritus of New York

Greg Kelly and Raymond W. Kelly Police Commissioner of the City of New York

Greg Kelly and Raymond W. Kelly Police Commissioner of the City of New York

John T. Dunleavy, Chairman of the St. Patrick's Day Parade  with Honoree Frank Comerford

John T. Dunleavy, Chairman of the St. Patrick's Day Parade  with Honoree Frank Comerford

John T. Dunleavy with Honoree Alfred E. Smith, IV

John T. Dunleavy with Honoree Alfred E. Smith, IV

John T. Dunleavy with Honoree Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny

John T. Dunleavy with Honoree Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Comerford

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Comerford

 

John Lahey

John Lahey

Kevin McCarthy and Pat Kelleher

Kevin McCarthy and Pat Kelleher

 Brian Fitzpatrick and Pat Kelleher

Brian Fitzpatrick and Pat Kelleher

Maura Fitton, Bronx County AIDE for LAOH

Maura Fitton, Bronx County AIDE for LAOH

Councillor Sean McKiernan, Mayor, Cavan County Coucil Ireland and Shaun Clancy

Councillor Sean McKiernan, Mayor, Cavan County Coucil Ireland and Shaun Clancy

Michele Mellotte and Siobhan Cox-Zarn Carlos

Michele Mellotte and Siobhan Cox-Carlos

John Lopez, Gene McCarthy and Eddy Chaumette

John Lopez, Gene McCarthy and Eddy Chaumette

Ryan O'Byrne, Brian Stack and Peter Byrne

Ryan O'Byrne, Brian Stack and Peter Byrne

Turlough McConnell, Susan Ziegler, Buz O'Keefe, Patricia Weeks, Gerry Meagler, Elizabeth Hunter and Barry Michela

Turlough McConnell, Susan Ziegler, Buz O'Keefe, Patricia Weeks, Gerry Meagler, Elizabeth Hunter and Barry Michela

Damon Treadwell and Joyce Brooks

Damon Treadwell and Joyce Brooks

 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!
 


The 2012 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Gala Cocktail Reception

WHAT: The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2012 Gala Cocktail Reception - After 250 years of the Parade - a new and exciting event engaging the community to secure the next 250 years, and beyond!

WHO: The New York City St. Patrick’s Parade Gala Committee, partnering with many prominent Irish and American organizations and world-class entertainment

WHEN: Thursday, March 15th, 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

WHERE: The New York Athletic Club (180 Central Park South, NYC)

WHY: To pay tribute to U.S. Veterans, honor the Parade Grand Marshal and other prominent members of NYC’s Irish-American community; 

Presentation of inaugural “New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade - Ambassadors of Irish Culture,” Awarded to Celtic Woman for Keeping Our Tradition Alive; 

A way to bring the community together to foster the longevity and well-being of the Parade.  

MORE: Hosted by Greg Kelly, FOX 5,
“Good Day New York”. 

World-class featured entertainment included: Celtic Woman, The Celtic Tenors, Paul Byrom, Michael T. English, The NYPD Pipes and Drums, The Broesler School of Irish Dance, The Keltic Dreams and Five Services U.S. Military Color Guard.

In attendance were Minister Joan Burton (Irish Minister for Social Protection), John Bruton (Chairman of Ireland Financial Services Center, former Ambassador and Prime Minister), Noel Kilkenny (Counsul General of Ireland) and a number of senior U.S. Military Officials. 

Gala Sponsors: NBCUniversal and PricewaterhouseCoopers. 


 
HONOREES:

Grand Marshal Francis X. Comerford:

Frank Comerford is the Grand Marshal for the 2012 Parade and Chief Revenue Officer and President of Commercial Operations for NBC Owned Television Stations. Comerford has worked in the television industry for more than 30 years, including over 15 years with NBC. He has been instrumental in raising the profile of the Parade across the world through the media of television and the internet. Comerford is very active in the community and serves on many charitable boards, including the Lutheran Medical Center, the Association for a Better New York, the Executive Board of NYC & Company, the Archdiocese of New York Catholic Charity, Xavier High School, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, The John A. Reisenbach Foundation and the Diocese of Brooklyn’s TVC. He has been honored by several prestigious organizations, including CAPP, Abilities School, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Friends of AHRC Autism Program and New Yorkers for Children. Comerford holds a BS in Business Administration and Finance from Georgetown University. He traces his Irish ancestry to County Kilkenny. He resides in Brooklyn and Long Island with his wife, Maura, and
their son.

Alfred E. Smith, IV:

Mr. Smith is CEO of AE Smith Associates and is the great-grandson of the legendary Al Smith, Governor of New York. He serves as the Director, Secretary, and Dinner Chairman for the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation, as well as Master of Ceremonies the dinner for the past 25 years. Alfred’s work on behalf of charities in New York and Connecticut is extensive. In addition to his work with the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation he serves as Chairman of the Board of Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, Director of the Center for Hope, former Trustee of Calvary Hospital and served on the board of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. Al is the Chairman of the Irish Chamber of Commerce of the USA and Chairman of Hackers for Hope, an organization he founded in 1988 to raise money for cancer research and treatment. Since 1988, Hackers for Hope has donated over $8,000,000 to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers Comprehensive Cancer Center, and other organizations committed to finding a cure for and treating cancer. Mr. Smith retired as Managing Director of Bear Wagner Specialists LLC in 2006, after 35 successful years on Wall Street. He sits on the Boards of The Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Mutual of America, and Provectus. He is a Senior Advisor for the Marwood Group, as well as Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Alfred Smith was educated at Iona Prep and Villanova University.

Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny:

Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny is a native of Kilrush, County Clare and the daughter of Mary O’Dea (nee Harvey) and the late Michael O’Dea. She was educated by the Sisters of Mercy in Kilrush and at St. Patrick’s College of Education in Dublin. Hanora is married to Noel Kilkenny, Consul General of Ireland in New York and since coming to New York, Hanora has been particularly impressed by the sense of true community and mutual support she has witnessed and experienced from the Irish in New York. Hanora Kilkenny is a key figure in the New York Irish community and with along with her husband she is actively involved in Irish affairs in the Tri-State area.


 
SPECIAL TRIBUTES:

“The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade - Ambassadors of Irish Culture, For Keeping Our Tradition Alive.” This is an inaugural award to Celtic Woman:

Celtic Woman - the all-female singing sensation featuring vocalists Chloë Agnew, Lisa Lambe, Lisa Kelly and Celtic violinist Máiréad Nesbitt, performing classic Irish songs, timeless pop anthems, and inspirational songs with their signature Celtic Woman twist. Their newest release is BELIEVE, which is their eighth #1 debut on Billboard's World Music Chart. Celtic Woman debuted on Public Television in March 2005 where they quickly emerged as a top attraction for the network. The group distinguished their sound as a transcendental force and their spectacular live shows embody a radiance and purity that connects with their adoring fanbase. Those fans have shown their commitment over the years, leading to sales of more than 6.5 million Celtic Woman CDs/DVDs and over 2 million concert tickets sold globally. 


Tribute to U.S. Veterans and Fr. Mandato, Honoree:
The 2012 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is dedicated to U.S. Veterans.


Fr. Kieran G. Mandato - Commander, Chaplain Corps, United States Navy, is the Staff Roman Catholic Chaplain for Naval District Washington and the Command Chaplain for Naval Support Activity and for the Office of Naval Intelligence.He is responsible for all the burials at Arlington National Cemetery for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Chaplain Mandato, a native of Mount Vernon, New York, graduated from Fordham University in Bronx, New York with a B.A. in Theology and a B.A. in Philosophy. He earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div) from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York. Ordained in 1987 as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, Father Mandato served for five years as a parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Shrub Oak, New York. His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), the Combat Action Ribbon, and various other service and campaign medals and ribbons.

 

 
ENTERTAINMENT:

The Celtic Tenors -  have established themselves as the most successful classical crossover artists ever to emerge from Ireland. In 2000, following an impromptu audition at EMI in London, the Celtic Tenors were signed on the spot to an international record deal, a highly unusual event that was the talk of the music industry.

The Celtic Tenor's fifth album was released in 2009. Recorded in the Hollywood Hills, this new album is a collection of songs from North America, by songwriters including Stephen Foster and Bob Dylan. Essentially a roots album with rich harmony driven songs, Celtic Tenors, Daryl, James and Matthew were privileged to work with the Grammy-winning team of Steve Lindsey, Dillon O'Brien and Dave Way.

The Celtic Tenors continue to "re-invent the whole tenor idiom" (Phil Coulter - composer of "Remember Me"), by pioneering a new style of 'cool' never before seen on the classical stage and by breaking the traditional stuffy tenor mould.

While each of The Celtic Tenors have been influenced by the musical traditions from their own individual parts of Ireland, Daryl, James and Matthew show great flexibility in melding their voices to suit the appropriate classical, folk, Irish and pop genres. The "Echo Award" in Germany for "Classical without Boundaries" was presented to The Celtic Tenors in recognition of this fact.

With a total album sales worldwide, including compilations, of over one million, and a full international touring schedule, the Celtic Tenors have topped the charts in the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK and Ireland.

The Celtic Tenors:
-  have sung leading roles with top opera companies and performed in oratorio and concerts across the globe
-  have appeared on TV across the USA, Canada and Europe
-  have produced their own German TV Special "Ein Grosser Irischer Abend" which was broadcast to millions across Germany and subsequently broadcast as a PBS Special coast-to-coast across the USA, "Celebrate with The Celtic Tenors".
-  have sung for world leaders and appeared in concert with such names as Dionne Warwick, Air Supply and The Chieftains
-  headlined Irish and Celtic Festivals in Europe and the USA and performed with orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

The Celtic Tenors' live show is an experience overflowing with vitality and variety from start to finish. The unique voices, charm and wit of Daryl, James and Matthew, combined with their talented young Musical Director Colm Rogan, combine an emotive journey with a thoroughly uplifting experience. Equally at home performing to large festival crowds or intimate concert halls and theatres, and whether backed by a live band, symphony orchestra, solo piano, or even acapella, their voices and personalities always shine through alongside their undeniable celtic charm.

Catch the Celtic Tenors in concert, enjoy their eclectic mix of classical, folk, Irish and pop.

Broesler School of Irish Dance - has been active in the east coast Irish community since 1986. Kevin Broesler is the school’s founder and director and is a former national and world champion step dancer. In 2004, Kevin was honored by Irish American Magazine as one of its top 100 Irish Americans. The school has locations in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware.

Tonight  had Open Champion dancers who will be competing in Belfast, Ireland beginning March 31st at the Irish Dance World Championships and again at Nationals in Chicago this summer. We have Ryan Broelser who placed 3rd in the World Championships last year and Mitchell DeSamone, who just came off a dance tour with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. ENJOY!

Keltic Dreams - Teacher Caroline Duggan moved to New York from Dublin, Ireland in the summer of 2002 and was hired by the NYC Dept of Ed as a music teacher to teach in Public School 59 situated in a low socio-economic area of the Bronx with a 98% poverty level.  In 2003, with the support and approval of the school Principal at P.S 59, Caroline started an after school Irish dance program as the children, all African American and Latino were fascinated with her "funny accent" and Irish culture. Caroline named the group The Keltic Dreams and over the next few years took the children performing all over New York and other states. Thanks to donations Caroline raised enough money to take The Keltic Dreams on their very first overnight trip to The Irish Connections Festival in Canton, Boston in 2006 where they were awarded the very first Building Bridges Award. In 2007 Caroline raised over $72,000 in a number of months through generous donations, obtained passports for all the children and took the children, the school Principal and some parent and teacher chaperones on the trip of a life time to Ireland where they were invited to perform for The President of Ireland in her residence as well as on The Late Late Show. Most of the children had never been on a plane before. The Producer of Riverdance, John McColgan documented the trip which turned into a documentary titled "A Bronx Dream" which aired in Ireland on Primetime TV in Ireland, England, Canada and has been currently airing on Showtime TV here in the United States for the past two years. In 2008 The keltic Dreams made the cover of the NY Times and planned to travel to Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Ministers in Belfast. Within a number of months Caroline had obtained passports for the new members of the group and raised over $85,000 and took them all to Ireland to perform. On this trip the students connected with Protestant and Catholic students in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland highlighting that their performance was breaking down barriers of religion, cultural differences and race by fusing children from all cultural backgrounds together and highlighting their performances in a really positive light. In November 2008,  The Keltic Dreams flew to Chicago where they performed at the American Ireland Fund Gala there. In 2009 they performed at The American Ireland Fund Gala in Washington

Then another dream unfolded. After having the keltic Dreams to her home country in Ireland to perform for her own President in Ireland, Caroline dreamed of taking The Keltic dreams to perform for The President of The United States.  On February 17, 2010 the Keltic Dreams performed for President Clinton and Congressman Crowley at a Black History month celebration. On  March 9, 2010 they performed in City Hall, New York City for Speaker Christine Quinn and Caroline Kennedy. On March 16, 2010 the group was invited to perform at The American Ireland Fund Gala in Washington where The Keltic Dreams performed for Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Then the dream came true and the Keltic Dreams were invited to perform at the St Patrick's celebration in The White House on March 17, 2010 where they performed for a huge audience and met with President Obama and the first Lady on St Patrick's Day 2010. Our most recent performance was at The State of the City of New York address by Mayor Bloomberg in January 2012. Irish dance has become the means of showing the children and their teacher that anything is possible through believing in yourself and extreme hard work. This group highlights diversity at it's finest through performance and gives a strong message to their audiences, the idea of hope and believing that anything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself. Caroline fuses her Irish culture with the children’s cultural backgrounds of Hip Hop and Salsa in the choreography and continues to introduce new children to the program each year.

Paul Byrom - is often hailed as Ireland's premier tenor and with good reason. From an early age his special vocal talent brought him the attention of music coaches and talent spotters. The Dublin-born tenor began voice study and training when he was just seven years old and went on to study as a tenor under the legendary Dr. Veronica Dunne, Ireland's leading lady of opera and a renowned vocal teacher.

He was a professional singer by his early teens and Paul recorded his first album as a boy soprano at 14. His second release, entitled VELVET, was in 2005 and it reached #2 in the Irish music charts. This led to many appearances on Irish Television and Radio, including "Celebrity Jigs and Reels" where he reached the grand final. Paul went on to release his Christmas album entitled "I'll Be Home For Christmas" in 2008, which charted in the Classical Billboard Charts.

His talent as a tenor has taken him far and wide, and some of the many highlights of his career to date include performing for many dignitaries such as Irish President Mary McAleese, Emperor Akihito of Japan, Former Irish President and UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson and most recently for United States President, Barack Obama. 

Paul is an avid sports fan and he has also performed at many large-scale and high profile sporting events such as six All-Ireland Finals in Croke Park, Dublin, International rugby games in Landsdowne Road and the new Aviva Stadium, Dublin, for the Pittsburgh Steelers American Football team at Heinz Field in the US.For the world and european club Champions football team, Barcelona. He is very proud now to be a regular at the TD Garden, for the Boston Celtics basketball team.

In 2007 Paul was invited to join Celtic Thunder as one of the five soloists. "I was thrilled to join Celtic Thunder and get the chance to work with Phil Coulter again" says Paul. " I have had a lot of fun making the show's and it was very exciting bringing them to new audiences around the world." Fans call Byrom "The Swanky Tenor" for his suave and romantic style in performing, which is stamped on such numbers in Celtic Thunder as "Remember Me, Recuerde Me" and "She".

He has since left the production and released his latest album "THIS IS THE MOMENT" which debuted at No.1 on the World Billboard Charts, followed by his first solo tour of North America. It's safe to say, Paul has gone from strength to strength. "I am truly excited about what lies ahead for me, but I know I've made a lot of friends along the way who will never let me walk alone"


Michael T. English - at the age of 11 years, sat at his piano in his home in Castledermot, County Kildare. He composed a piece of music which he called Perestroika, a term that translates as ‘peace’ and one which dominated global political news at the time.

Soon after, Michael would make his first appearance on national TV, performing on Ireland’s most popular and highly-rated talk show. For him, The Late Late Show was a small-town boy’s dream come true. For those who watched and listened, it was the public birth of an extraordinary talent.

By the time he had reached his late teens, Michael T English was a seasoned professional in the music business. His father and mother would accompany him to dance-hall and ballroom venues throughout Ireland, watching and encouraging as their son followed a family tradition. For the English family, music and showbusiness was a way of life. Michael was merely doing what appeared completely natural. After all, his father was a gifted accordion player and Michael’s childhood remains, to this day, stained with happy memories of Irish traditional music filling the kitchen air at home.

In 1997, Michael’s first album was released. But what started out as a low-budget experiment to gauge what audiences really thought soon delivered a resounding verdict. The album began to snowball and people wanted more. And lucky for them, so did the young, dashing and rising Irish star.

Long before he had reached the age of thirty years, Michael T English was quickly becoming a household name. He had completed his classical training in music and went on to record an astonishing five albums, each one leaving a more memorable impression than the next. Touring extensively all over Ireland, the UK and the USA, the boy-wonder from Castledermot was living his dream. Recording and performing music was always what it was; always what it had to be.

But perhaps it was his unexpected phone call from Louis Walsh in 2005 that catapulted Michael’s musical career onto a higher plane. To many, he was an unlikely choice for the music mogul to want added to his growing list of sell-out international pop bands and performers. But Louis Walsh liked what he saw. He knew Michael was different, and more of the world needed to know more about his gift.

Signed to Sony Records and under the guidance of Louis Walsh, Michael went on to record two further albums, All My Life and Portrait Of My Love. The first was a diverse collection of easy-listening hits featuring duets with international stars such as Daniel O’Donnell and Linda Martin. And for Portrait Of My Love, Michael met and sat with Roger Whittaker to fine-tune his interpretation of one of Rogers’ tracks, The Last Farewell; a song particularly close to Michael’s heart and one he had wanted to record for years.

Today, the Michael T English story has almost come full circle. During his prolific career to date, Michael has been the recipient of numerous music and entertainment awards, including recognition at the Irish Entertainment Awards for Best Album of The Year (2010), Number One Selling Album (2008 and2009) as well as a Golden Roll of Honours Award in 2008 from the Performing Artists Trust Society. And for good measure, it so happens that he also holds five All-Ireland ballroom dancing titles!

Underneath, Michael T English still remains the unassuming and witty Kildare man who lives to sit at his piano and compose music and songs, just as he did as an 11-year-old boy. Now, the experience and passion brought about by a fascinating music career and life itself have been woven into his unique style and the stories his music tells.

For Michael T English, composing and performing aren’t really things he chooses to do. It’s as if the passion of music continues to choose him. And perhaps for the first time ever, the very core of Michael’s raw musical talent will be unleashed in his new album due out in 2012. Produced by music legend Phil Coulter, Michael has created an album that is original, stunningly melodic and lyrically profound. The album is, in his own words, “without doubt my best work yet”.

Michael currently divides his time between Ireland, the UK and the USA, writing more new material now more than ever before and performing sell-out concerts to audiences who want to be part of this extraordinary personal and musical journey.

 
GALA PARTNERS:

 
The Ireland-U.S. Council, Manhattan College, Quinnipiac University, the Notre Dame Club of New York, Irish American Bar Association of New York, Irish American Orthopaedic Society, Knights of St. Patrick, Power Memorial Academy, Irish Business Organization, Irish International Business Network, Irish Repertory Theatre, MurphGuide, Failte32, Out of Ireland, Irish Examiner, Tourism Ireland, and Growing . . .

 

251st New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade

To Honor Veterans of the United States
-------------------------------------------
Special Recognition to Salute the Service and Sacrifice
of Lt. Michael Murphy, USN, Posthumous Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor

www.NYCStPatricksParade.org
 
New York, N.Y., - The oldest, biggest and best St. Patrick's Day Parade in the world will honor all American veterans and salute one in particular when it marches up Fifth Avenue on March 17th. This year, the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrates the service and sacrifice of all American veterans. Receiving special recognition will be Long Island native Lt. Michael Murphy, USN, posthumous recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic and selfless actions in conflict in Afghanistan.
 
Each year, the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade recognizes the efforts of an outstanding charity or distinguished group of people who serve to make the world better. This year, the parade committee - led by chairman John Dunleavy, a veteran of the U.S. Army - has chosen to honor all American veterans from every branch of service and from every war or conflict.
 
The presence of veterans or members of the military in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade dates to the beginning of the event. The original parade 251 years ago included Irish soldiers conscripted into the British Army serving here in Manhattan. Through the intervening years, the tradition of military presence in the parade continued, notably with the role of the 69th Regiment of the New York National Guard leading the parade followed by many military bands and delegations. In a very recognizable way, the idea of honoring past and present members of the military is a celebration of the story of immigrants in the United States; the true spirit of America is embodied in their efforts to build roots and gain educations while embracing the faith that gave them hope and uniting to protect their chosen country.
 
Participating in the 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade will be members of each branch of the military: the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marines, and the Coast Guard. Service of participating veterans spans the time from World War II through  Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Kosovo, to the conflicts of the last decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. With participation coordinated by the American Legion Post 50 and Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 50 of Pelham, N.Y., the veterans groups marching in this year's parade include the Catholic War Veterans; The American Legion; the Marine Corps League; the Veterans of Foreign Wars; The Vietnam Veterans of America; the Red Bank, N.J., Veterans from 1941-2012; the Mercy College Veterans Program from Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.; the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; and the United War Veterans Council of New York City.    

The parade committee especially recognizes a genuine hero from Patchogue, Long Island: Lt. Michael Murphy, USN.  A Navy SEAL, Lt. Murphy led a four-man team on a mission in the remote mountains of Afghanistan.  The small unit of Lt. Murphy, Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell was trapped by Taliban fighters on three sides and ran low on ammunition. The intense firefight inflicted grave gunshot wounds upon Lt. Murphy, yet he unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call that relayed the position of the stranded unit to a relief force.
 
Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle until he was ultimately killed. But Lt. Murphy's heroism led to the rescue of Petty Officer Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three Americans who were lost in the battle. For his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest honor for military service. In May 2011, the Navy christened a new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, which will be commissioned in October. For decades to come, USS Michael P. Murphy will continue to protect America as an example of the service and heroism of its namesake.
 
The St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of New York City's greatest traditions, marching for the first time on March 17, 1762 when it was formed by a band of homesick Irish ex-patriots and Irish military who served with the British Army stationed in the American colonies. This was a time when the wearing of green was a sign of Irish pride and was banned in Ireland. The parade participants reveled in the freedom to speak Irish, wear the green, sing Irish songs and play the bagpipes to Irish tunes that were very meaningful to the Irish immigrants who had fled their homeland.
 
For the first few years of its existence, the parade was organized by military units. After the War of 1812, the Irish fraternal and beneficial societies took over the duties of hosting and sponsoring the event. Originally, the Irish societies joined together at their respective meeting places and moved in a procession toward Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in Lower Manhattan on Mott & Prince Streets, where the Archbishop of New York would address the crowd before revelers dispersed to celebrate.
 
In the mid-1800s, the individual societies merged under a single grand marshal and the size of the parade grew sharply. This was when the Ancient Order of Hibernians became the official sponsor of the parade.
While the parade has always been led by a military unit, for the past 150 years, members of the National Guard's 69th Regiment (known as the "Fighting 69th") has proudly led the way up Fifth Avenue. This distinguished group of soldiers is followed by members of various Irish societies of the city, the 32 Irish County Societies, various schools, colleges, Emerald societies, Irish-language and nationalist societies.
 
To this day, the St. Patrick's Day Parade remains true to its roots as a traditional marchers' parade by not allowing floats, automobiles and other commercial aspects to participate. Every year, the Parade Committee hosts 150,000- 250,000 marchers in front of approximately two million spectators lining Fifth Avenue. The Parade is also televised for four hours on New York's WNBC Channel 4 to over half a million households and was streamed over the Internet for the first time in 2008.
 
Throughout its history, the parade has been held in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York. The parade is reviewed each year from the steps of Saint Patrick's Cathedral by the current Archbishop of New York in the same manner as the Archbishop of New York did in the early days of the parade at the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in lower Manhattan.
 
The parade starts at 44th Street at 11 a.m. and is held every March 17th except when March 17th falls on a Sunday; because of religious observances on those occasions, it is celebrated the day before, on Saturday the 16th. The parade marches up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's Cathedral at 50th Street and continues to 79th Street, where the parade finishes at approximately 4:30-5 p.m

 

Joyce Brooks

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: (L-R) Fashion designer Issac Mizrahi, honoree Linda Lloyd Lambert and President and CEO of ASPCA, Matt Bershadker attend the ASPCA hosted 20th Annual Bergh Ball at The Plaza Hotel on April 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ASPCA)

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