A grand old day for the Dyker Heights Independence Day parade

Although July 4th may be a day when families and friends come together to eat freshly grilled hot dogs from the barbecue, the holiday holds a more significant meaning across the nation. Most commonly known as the holiday that kicks off summer, Independence Day really represents the celebration of the broken ties between the rebellious 13 colonies of North America and England.

This year’s July 4th is the 237th anniversary of the United States’ existence as a unified, free nation. Here in Brooklyn, Dyker Heights celebrates the holiday in patriotic style and grace with the annual Independence Day parade, celebrated this year on Saturday, June 29. It celebrates the birth of America, salutes those currently serving in our armed forces, and honors those who have previously served for our country.

This will be Dyker Heights’ 108th Independence Day parade, making it the oldest in the city of New York and one of the five oldest in the country. The Long Island Assembly #703, 4th Degree, of the Knights of Columbus, sponsors the event.

While the event was formerly held on the actual holiday, parade committee members found that there was a decline in attendance due to vacations and other pre-made celebratory plans made by the public.

As a result, the board members decided, a few years ago, that the parade would be held on the first Saturday before July 4. The committee found that by making such an adjustment in the scheduling resulted in more participants being part of the 13th Avenue march and more spectators celebrating the festivities.

One of the highlights of the annual parade is recognizing both the Grand Marshal and the recipient of the Order’s Pro Patria Award. This year’s grand marshal will be Brooklynite Richard T. Kenney, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and multi-committee member. Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, who was made an honorary chaplain by the New York City Police Department for his efforts and work down at Ground Zero on 9/11, will be the 2013 Pro Patria Award recipient.

The 2013 Independence Day Parade will kick off at noon on the 29th with the Julio Brass Band leading the celebration. The parade route will run along 13th Avenue, from 71st Street to 86th Street. The post-parade ceremony will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall of Archbishop John Hughes Council #481, on the corner of 86th Street and 13th Avenue.

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