BY GABRIELLE GUZ
America’s 243rd birthday may be a few days in the future, but broad stripes and bright stars already streamed patriotically along Court Street, from Bergen to Luquer Street, on June 29, for the borough’s annual Independence Day Parade.
The parade, originally established in 1905, is the oldest patriotic march of its kind in Brooklyn and the fifth oldest in the country.
Sponsored by the Long Island Assembly, a wing of the Knights of Columbus, and headed by Rick Kenney and parade chair Lamondo Spicer, the 114th installment commenced with a pre-parade ceremony at St. Paul’s Church.
At the church, the parade group — as it does every year — honored another outstanding citizen with the Pro-Patria Award. Joseph Peluso, a high-ranking official of the Knights of Columbus, was this year’s honoree.
Previous award recipients include U.S. Representatives Leo Zefferetti and Guy Molinari; NYPD Detective Steven McDonald; U.S. Army Sgt. Bryan Dilberian; Kings County Democratic Chair Frank Seddio; Bishop Thomas Daily; State Senators Thomas Bartosiewicz, Christopher Mega and Marty Golden; and City Council Majority Leader Thomas Cuite.
Led by the NYPD Police Band, marchers this year included bagpipers, color guards, Knights of Columbus members, veterans, Girl and Boy Scout troops; in addition, the parade included classic cars, vintage fire trucks and dancers.
Ted General, the first vice president of the Society of Old Brooklynites, remarked that the parade heralds God and country and salutes our nation’s armed forces, all in anticipation of July 4.
For over 100 years, the parade was held on July 4, until the parade committee opted to hold it on the Saturday prior to the holiday, so more marching groups and spectators would be able to turn out. Before it was relocated to downtown Brooklyn, the parade ran along Prospect West in Park Slope, then on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, and more recently on 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights.
The oldest Independence Day Parade tradition will continue on June 27, 2020 with the event’s 115th installment.