Saturday, March 2, 2013

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the Rockaways

The organizers of the St. Patrick's Parade in the Rockaways invited our missionaries, more precisely our Mormon Helping Hands, to march in it. It is a cold, wintry March day here in New York (there were even a few snowflakes) but the people of the Rockaways were enthusiastic and ready to do a little celebrating.

I quickly discovered (and felt quite sheepish) that I was just about the only observer that wasn't wearing any green!! What was I thinking? I was quickly able to remedy the situation by transacting with a convenient street vendor. Feeling better, I settled in to watch a good parade.

Honestly, I have never seen so many kilts in one place in my life (and I've been to Scotland!). There were no less than 25 bagpipe and drum corps (did you know the Courts of New York and the Transit Workers of New York have their own bagpipe and drum corps? Well there you go) in kilts of every imaginable color. There is nothing like the sound of bagpipe! It was thrilling and they were all good! Also marching were school groups, Irish organizations and service organizations. There were several firefighting units including the world-famous FDNY.

Also representing (and a crowd favorite) were the Sanitation Workers of NYC. They became our buddies during storm clean up and were real heroes in their quick response and relentless effort during that time. They have lovely dress uniforms that they were wearing today and they were greeted with enthusiasm.

One of the Irish organizations was an Irish dancing group that has taken to doing their hair like the girl from Brave. This is a small representation of about 50 girls of all ages, ALL with their hair like this.

Also marching in today's festivities were some real heavyweights. Mayor Bloomberg was there with his Secret Service and Senator Charles Schumer

spoke to the crowd through a megaphone. (They got mixed reviews from the crowd...) But that gives you some idea of what a big deal this parade was. How cool is it that we were invited to be a part of it all?

The fact is, they love us in the Rockaways.

I wanted to share the experience of seeing our yellow-vested darlings coming down the street. It was such a great moment to see these young servants being celebrated for their hard work and goodness. Please note that I am the world's worse videographer and while I started off with a great camera angle, I swung away for a moment to try to illustrate the crowd's reaction and it was a little rough after that. (You live, you learn). Anyway, listen to the sound of the crowd at the first of the clip and then what happens when our missionaries come into view.

Keep in mind that our missionaries are a subset of the Mormon Helping Hands. We had thousands of volunteers from Virginia, Connecticut, NewYork, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and other places help during the Hurricane Sandy clean up.