Irish Central founder Niall O’Dowd gets the last word on this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade season, and whether gays can march under banners proclaiming their sexual orientation.
There are many good and decent people who cherish and honor the act of marching in the parade, O’Dowd writes. “It is extremely disheartening to see them tarred in any way with the fallout from the LGBT issue.”
If you stand and watch the parade for even a short time that is what comes across, the sheer joy and exuberance and pride of those taking part. The issue of gays marching is lost on most of them, from a Catholic high school band from Texas, to Catholic university alums, to a business organization like the IBO.
The parade is their definitive statement of their identity, their time to celebrate their history and heritage.
Back in the 19th century when the Know Nothings were shooting and killing Catholics, marching in such parades was a dangerous business for fear of being identified and attacked. Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral came under direct attack by the Know Nothings in 1836 and was saved by AOH defenders.
The times have changed for sure, but some would hang a scarlet letter over all who take part in the parade today even though they have absolutely nothing to do with the machinations of the parade committee. Instead they are merely honoring their forefathers and the battles they won that allowed us to enjoy the status of the Irish in America today.
That’s is why the parade will endure, despite the poor leadership, because it is deep in the bones of our people.