2001-02-24 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

Nearly 350 people stepped out last Saturday evening to attend the Saint
Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee's 26th Annual Dinner Dance at Antun's in Queens Village. The gala is the premier event of the
parade season where our honorees make their official debut.

The theme of the evening was evident in the remarks given by Grand Marshal Michael McGuire who gave an eloquent speech about how the Irish overcame and trumped the prejudices of  "No Irish Need Apply". As director of the Mason Tenders
District Council of Greater New York, Mr. McGuire spoke about the rise of the Irish in America and how they trumped over the harshest of adversity. "It didn't matter that the Irish built the Erie Canal, or that they built the Trans-Continental Railroad. It didn't matter that they built the streets, the houses, the reservoirs and the sewer systems. It didn't matter that the Irish built America...it was still, ‘No Irish Need Apply’. It was out of this discrimination and fed up with bad working conditions that the labor movement in America was born. From Peter McGuire, who organized the United Brotherhood
of Carpenters and Joiners, to James Connolly, who was an organizer for the IWW, to a man named George Meaney, a plumber, who became the first president of the AFL-CIO, to Mike Quill, who headed the Transport Workers Union, the Irish were well on their way. We saw the O'Dwyers in City Hall, Al Smith in
the state House, and Jack Kennedy in the White House."

Of course, there are the everyday heroes. People like Mr. McGuire, and Female Grand Marshal Cathy Mitchell-Miceli; our Honorary Grand Marshals, Barbara J. Morris and Robert Spata; and Deputy Grand Marshals John McLoughlin, Mary Dever, Mary Alice Lane, Liz Sulik, Mary Rooney, Mike Shea, Roselle Sampol, Ellen Connelly, Sean Kirby, and Father Casey who all in their own unique way exemplify all that is
so remarkable about the Irish people. Their individual stories speak volumes and their lives are a tribute to their heritage. We are so proud to be
honoring them.

The event at Antun's was meticulously co-chaired by that dynamic couple, Peggy and William Neville. Chairman Mike Benn did a wonderful job as master of ceremonies. And I must acknowledge my friend, and Parade Founder, James Conway Sullivan, whose vision has brought us here today on this occasion of
our 26th parade!

***There will be a final fundraiser to benefit the parade on this Sunday,
February 25 from 3 – 7 p.m. at the Beautiful Palm Garden Pub. There will be an open bar, plenty of food, and music provided by John Baxter. Donation is $20.

***Happy Birthday wishes to Arlene Slattery!  

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