Flag Day celebrations will kick off today and continue through the holiday itself, which is Tuesday.
On Sunday, Troy will hold its 44th Flag Day parade, one of the largest in the country.
“It’s strictly honoring the flag; it’s the flag that our kids are dying for as we’re speaking, and nobody is going to interfere with that,” said Ed Manny, president of the parade. In deference to the original purpose of Flag Day, which is to honor the flag, the Troy parade does not allow any advertising, marketing or campaigning.
Manny, a retired firefighter for the city of Troy, has been involved with the parade for 35 years. While there are no advertisments, there are two designated organizations that supply paradegoers with food and toys.
“We have one food vendor and one toy vendor. They’re local and we’ve used them for years,” Manny said. The food is distributed by the Italian Community Center, which was one of four organizatations that helped sponsor the second parade.
The first parade was a small group of people organized by postal worker Jimmy Passinella, who saw a group of people burning the American flag on Fourth Street. Pasinella gathered a group and the next week they marched down Fourth Street waving the flag, Manny said.
The second year involved more organziations, and now the 44th year of the parade has around 120 organizations marching from New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The groups vary in size, but some reach about 300 marchers and some are divided into segments, Manny said.
Each group brings something different. Some have little cars that adults ride on, and there are cars with two front ends that the children enjoy.
The grand marshal will be Bill Peak, who founded the Patriot Flight, which is a volunteer organization that flies World War II veterans to see the World War II monument in Washington.
The Patriot Guard decided to ride in the parade because Peak was named the grand marshal. The Patriot Guard is a group of motorcyclists who provide an escort for a fallen soldier’s body to their hometown from the airport. They also, through non-violent means, shield family and friends from protestors.
The parade route is about two miles long and will cover about half of the city of Troy.
Here’s the schedule of other Flag Day activities in the Capital Region:
7 p.m. — Burnt Hills’ parade starts at Kingsley Road.
Noon — Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge will sponsor the 43rd annual Flag Day Parade in Saratoga Springs, starting on North Broadway and ending at Congress Park.
1 p.m. — Troy’s Flag Day Parade starts at Main and Fourth streets in South Troy and goes to Federal and Fourth streets.
5:30 p.m.— Rotterdam’s Flag Day Parade starts at the Mohonasen campus on Curry Road and ends at the Elks Lodge, also on Curry Road.
6 p.m. — Clifton Park Elks Lodge 2466 will hold their annual Flag Day Ceremony at their lodge on MacElroy Road in Clifton Park.
Categories: Schenectady County