On Saturday, August 29, with a small parade around Washington Park on Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street, the annual Maryland 400 Commemoration – in conjunction with the 239th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn – kicked off.
It was led by bagpiper Bob O’Hare, members of the Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee and the Commodore John Barry Club plus American Legionnaire from the Michael Rawley and McFadden Bros. Posts.
Seated under a large tent erected behind the Old Stone House, the formal program began with the singing of the American and Irish national anthems by John Houlihan, followed by remarks by Kathleen McDonagh, who chaired the event; Peter DeAngelis, Assemblymember James Brennan, former Assemblymember Joseph Ferris and by Kim Maier, executive director of the Old Stone House and the coordinator of Brooklyn Battle Week.
Next came the traditional reading of the roster of the Maryland 400 militiamen. As the vice president of the Society of Old Brooklynites, we were invited to be one of the readers. Two wreaths were ceremonially place at the base of the flagpole, with a rifle salute fired by the Sons of the American Legion from the McFadden Bros. Post, and the bagpiper playing the Irish hymn “Going Home.”
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The next day, we were off to Green-Wood Cemetery where we watched a reenactment of one of the many skirmishes between the Colonial militiamen and the vilified Red Coats. The combatants fired muskets, charged on horseback and fired a cannon. Then, there was a parade up to the top of Battle Hill led by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Regimental Band.
On the hilltop where the bronze statue of Minerva – next to the Altar of Liberty – peers out across the bay at the Statue of Liberty, Eric Kramer, president of the Battle of Brooklyn Memorial Society, conducted the annual remembrance exercises. The program included the singing of “Amazing Grace,” by Rhode Island Militia reenactor Andre Watts; the Pledge of Allegiance; the National Anthem; Taps by merchant midshipmen; and a three-volley cannon salute.
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Little Anthony, four, and Blake, three, are having a grand old time decorating a Johnny Pump at the recent 96th Street block party, held on Saturday, August 29.