The Brooklyn American Independence Parade commemorated America’s 246th birthday with an old-fashioned, patriotic, flag-waving march down Fifth Avenue. The 115-year-old parade took place in Sunset Park for the first time.
Prior to the 11:30 a.m. kickoff, a Mass and awards ceremony was held at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez, a former pastor of Sunset Park’s St. Agatha parish and more recently the Queens vicar of the Brooklyn Diocese, conducted the service. The Brooklyn-based Long Island Assembly of the Knights of Columbus then gave Sanchez its highest honor: the 2022 Pro-Patria Award.
Frank Siller, founder and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, was the grand marshal. Siller established the foundation in memory of his brother Stephen, a firefighter who died trying to save others on 9/11. Stephen ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center with 60 pounds of gear strapped to his back.
The foundation has an outstanding record of building free smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. FDNY Lt. Jack Kielty, a foundation board member, accepted the Grand Marshal’s award on Siller’s behalf. Lou Stuto received a Brogan Memorial Community Service Award for his efforts to feed and clothe the needy and for his support of active-service military and veterans.
Retired NYPD Lt. Sean Flanagan was the parade chairman.
“I wish to thank Sunset Park for opening its streets and, more importantly, its hearts to the assembly for this 115th Independence Day Parade,” said Edgar Perez, head of the Long Island Assembly.
Our congratulations to Col. Brian Jacobs, who assumed command of the Fort Hamilton U.S. Army Garrison July 12.