Flag Day parade, events draw thousands

HUDSON—Americans don’t have to agree about politics to celebrate the Stars and Stripes.

And that’s a good thing, particularly with the 20th anniversary of the annual Flag Day celebration in the county seat set to launch Saturday, June 11 at 10 a.m.

This year’s event, which typically draws 10,000 to 12,000 people to this city of 6,700, is shaping up to be the biggest yet.

Technically, Flag Day has only been around for 67 years, though various entities have claimed to have been the first to observe the day since 1861.

The Continental Congress adopted a resolution June 14, 1777 “That the flag of the United States shall be of 13 stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of 13 stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs website: www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/flagday.pdf

Both President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 issued proclamations asking that June 14 be observed as the National Flag Day. But it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that Congress approved the national observance and President Harry Truman signed it into law.

Today Flag Day is a nationwide observance, but Pennsylvania is the only state that recognizes it as a legal holiday, says the website.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a big supporter of Flag Day and was the first and only fraternal body to require formal observance of Flag Day, according to the Hudson Flag Day official website: hudsonflagdayparade.org.

In July 1908 the Elk’s Grand Lodge ordered the mandatory nationwide observance of Flag Day on June 14 each year.

For many years Hudson’s Elks Lodge #787 observed Flag Day with a parade made up of the Hudson High School Band and lodge members delivering the mandatory ritual ceremony. In 1996 Hudson Elks partnered with the City of Hudson, along with a group of interested citizens, to throw the first countywide celebration of Flag Day.

“The call went out to any and every person, group and organization to come and participate in the parade. This was the beginning of many parades ever since; it has turned out to be the largest parade to be held in the City of Hudson,” says the website.

As time went on, raising the money to orchestrate the celebration became more difficult, so in 2015, Hudson Flag Day Parade, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization was formed to conduct charitable activities, including the collection of contributions and monetary donations necessary to conduct the annual Hudson Flag Day Parade and all associated activities.

Today, the cost of the Flag Day celebration is about $50,000 and the event is organized by a 28-member volunteer Flag Day Committee, Treasurer Gisele Yusko told The Columbia Paper this week. Major sponsors of the event include: the Galvan Foundation, Columbia County, the First Niagara Foundation and the Hudson River Bank and Trust Foundation.

The fireworks finale at dusk over the Hudson River costs $15,000 and payments to participating performing bands runs about $19,000, said Mrs. Yusko.

Other expenses associated with the event include shuttle buses, signs and portable toilets. Organizers recoup some money by charging a small fee to vendors who set up in Waterfront Park.

Flag Day Parade Grand Marshalls this year are Retired Lieutenant Colonel Anna Cortese, U.S. Army; the Hudson High School Varsity Basketball Team; Steve Caporizzo from News 10; Anne McCloy from CBS 6 and Jim Kambrich from Channel 13.

Lt. Colonel Cortese entered the U.S. Army in 1991 as a registered nurse. She did basic training and advanced leadership training at Fort Sam Houston, TX. During her 22-year-career, she was assigned to Army hospitals in Germany, Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., as well as West Point. She served as officer-in-charge of a humanitarian mission in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010. She also served in Honduras and Guatamala. Lt. Colonel Cortese retired from the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in June 2013. For her service to her country, she received the following medals: Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, Global War On Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Training Medal.

Currently she is an associate professor of Nursing at Columbia-Greene Community College, where she has been teaching for 13 years.

Included in the list of 80 parade participants (some with floats) signed up so far are politicians, community groups, sports and dance groups, marching bands such as the Cabellero’s, the Skyliners, St. Bridgit’s Brigade, Hudson High School, the Ghent Band and Brasso-Mania, religious organizations, motorcycle and car clubs, fire departments, law enforcement organizations and veterans groups.

Joining the parade for the first time this year is Ronald McDonald House and the Bangladeshi community, said Mrs. Yusko. Down at the waterfront and also new this year, the Two By Two Petting Zoo, will be open from noon to 8 p.m., with animals for children to interact with such as a kangaroo, lemurs, parrot, goats, rabbits, tortoise, bearded dragon, pot-bellied pigs and snakes. The fire department “Smoke House” will be on hand along with an array of food and trinket vendors, a carnival with rides and games and free music from the gazebo/bandstand. Hand held flags will be distributed free to all attendees.

The parade typically takes two hours from start to finish.

Parking is available in municipal lots and on side streets in the city, along with an area by the waterfront. Warren Street will be closed to traffic on event day.

“It’s a very nice day for the whole community to come out to enjoy the festivities, each other and Hudson at its finest,” Mrs. Yusko said, adding, “Pray for good weather.”

Parade lineup information can be found on the website www.hudsonflagdayparade.org.

To contact Diane Valden email

FLAG DAY SCHEDULE:

*10 a.m., Festivities begin in Seventh Street Park including vendors and information booths. Hudson Elks Lodge #787 performs its annual Flag Day Ceremony. Each U.S. Flag that used throughout history will be explained. The Hudson Police Department conducts its popular bike rodeo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., where officers teach bicycle safety, check children’s bikes for safety and provide free bike helmets. Joe Murell from AAA Roofing, has donated a boy’s and girl’s bike to be raffled off. Music in the park will be provided by Christine Dellea (10 a.m. to noon), who performs all genres of music, including patriotic songs

*12:30 p.m. parade lineup on Green Street

*2 p.m. parade steps off from Green Street to Columbia Street to Park Place, down Warren Street onto South Front Street past the Hudson Train Station to Broad Street to Henry Hudson Waterfront Park, where the annual Waterfront Festival begins with a Proclamation and Dedication by Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton; encore appearances by some of the marching bands “Side Show Willie” and the Mirage Band; parade awards presentation

*Dusk. Flag Day ends at dusk with the fireworks display provided by Young Explosives from Rochester. The pyrotechnic show at Hudson Flag Day reportedly has the “longest and loudest finale in the northeast.”

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