Supporting the nation naturally

July 2, 2012 Editorial Staff
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Natalie Grilletti, mother of two, is a Dyker Heights resident who comes out every year to watch the Independence Day Parade. Her five and three year-old children happily cheered and waved their American flags on Saturday, June 30 as veterans marched down 13th avenue.

“They’re young,” Grilletti said, and “I like them to see what Brooklyn is all about.”

The 107th Annual American Independence Day Parade — sponsored by the Long Island Assembly of the Knights of Columbus — commemorated the 236th birthday of America and saluted the nation’s armed forces as part of the July 4th celebrations.

Among the participants was Gerald J. Cardinal, a U.S. Navy Air Corps WWII veteran, now 92, who rode in a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, attracting the attention of the joyful crowd. At his age, he continues to volunteer at the Veterans Hospital.

“We support the nation naturally,” Cardinal exclaimed. “I am very proud of everything the Knights of Columbus do.”

Ted General, an author and veteran Brooklyn newspaper columnist who writes for this paper, was this year’s grand marshal.

“It was a great surprise that they picked me,” General said. “I’m very ecstatic.” He believes that the reasons he was chosen as grand marshal include having written about the parade for a number of years, being involved with numerous organizations and doing “a lot of publicity.”

“Each year is a little different. Different cars, different people,” commented Steven Fox, who was standing along Upper 13th Avenue when the parade began exactly at noon. However, the Chevy 57 stood out this year, according to Fox. “What a beautiful car,” he added about the “Old Fireball.”

The Girl Scouts of Starrett City also joined the parade to celebrate Independence Day and honor the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary. Due to summer vacation, only 24 girls were present, but Ms. Pam, Marisol and Ms. Cupcake, the coordinators, said that despite the “small turnout,” they were “very proud of [their] girls.” The girls all wore vintage uniforms.

“It will not be our last,” said Ms. Pam.

Among the participating bands was the renowned Italian Giglio Brass Band from Brooklyn’s Mt. Carmel feast. There were also bagpipers, color guards, classic cars, and youth groups.

“I love parades,” agreed Ian Moskow and Sam Ulrich from Staten Island. “This is exactly what it means to be an American.”

Rosemary Duffy, the branch manager of Chase Bank on 13th Avenue and a Dyker Heights resident, expressed her gratitude for all of the nation’s veterans. “Your commitment is to our country,” she told, and “our commitment is to you.”

A heroic first responder and survivor of September 11 at Ground Zero, Rev. Raymond Nobiletti, was honored with the 2012 Pro Patria award. Fran Vella-Marrone, the president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, received the Brogan Memorial Award.

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