Picture perfect weather helped pack Broadway with people and patriotism Saturday during the annual Flag Day Parade.
City resident George O’donnell brought his son Kennan, now 6, as he does every year. He said the parade was great this year, although he thought there was probably too much candy being thrown to the crowd, much of it picked up by his son.
“No more candy!” O’donnell shouted in mock anger. He said this is the first year he thinks his son is old enough to begin to understand the importance of the American flag.
“The parade is a good community event. It’s good to get out and support the organizations and the veterans involved,” he said. “My son has been learning about the flag this year, it’s his first year in school, in kindergarten. This is the first year it’s really clicked for him.”
The parade, sponsored by the Saratoga-Wilton Elks, stepped off at noon at the corner of Route 50 and North Broadway. Saturday was the 42nd year the Elks have hosted the parade, which featured local officials, bands and musicians, area community-based organizations and many Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops.
The Saratoga Springs Fire Department marched as volunteers, without receiving overtime as they have in the past, after a unanimous vote by the department’s union members.
Some of the parade highlights included classic cars from the Saratoga Automobile Museum and the Racing City Chorus singing America the Beautiful.
The Saratoga Springs Adirondack chapter of Veterans for Peace was denied entry into the parade, as it was last year, because members of the group attend Saturday peace demonstrations in front of the Post Office on Broadway.
A van parked on the corner of Broadway and Washington Street displayed anti-war messages in apparent protest Saturday. Some of the messages included “Peace is priceless, war is wasteful” and “Drill, spill, kill, for oil.”
U.S. Army Pvt. Michael Nuckles attended the parade wearing his fatigues, as many members of the military appeared to do Saturday. Nuckles said he’s been in the Army for three years. He grew up in Galway and he’s currently stationed in Queensbury.
“I’m proud to be serving for my country. It makes me happy coming to the parade where I can see people being patriotic and showing some of the virtues of our country,” he said.
For city resident Jennifer Hunter the star of the parade was her son, 8-year-old David, who marched with Pack 12 of the Cub Scouts. She said it’s important for her family, which includes her husband Phil and 3-year-old daughter Erin, to connect to patriotic values.
“I think it’s important for the kids to see their community all involved in something that’s patriotic. There are so many different diverse groups that you see in the parade and it’s good for them to be exposed to the music, the clothes and the veterans,” she said.
For little Erin, her favorite part of the parade was predictable.
“The candy!” She exclaimed.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: