New York City’s Fifth Avenue will be flooded by a sea of green from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
The first annual parade to commemorate the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York was celebrated in 1762, and ever since thousands of people have staged it and spectated by millions.
The parade will start on 44th Street and will pass through Fifth Avenue up until 79th Street, leading to the partial closure of many of the adjacent roads. Alcohol will be banned in nearby public transport venues, and police officials will be surveying the area, enforcing the ban, starting Friday all the way through early Saturday.
The live parade can be seen here.
A parade in remembrance of Detective Steven McDonald
The 256th parade is dedicated to New York’s Catholic charities and the New York State Police, as both institutions became 100 years old in 2017. Marchers will also be honoring NYPD Detective Steven McDonald.
McDonald confronted a teenager wielding a gun in 1986 after surprising him stealing a bicycle. The teen shot at McDonald, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Later, McDonald publicly forgave the man. McDonald’s son, Connor, also joined the force. He remembered his father by talking to local CBS about how his father understood St. Patrick’s day:
“My dad understood the parade was not only to honor our heritage as Irish Americans, but also as Catholics. He always believed he was given a miracle from the grace of God to keep going after he was left for dead in Central Park, so the most important thing in my dad’s life after my mother and I and our family and the job was God,” Connor McDonald stated to New York’s CBS.
McDonald is remembered as a role model for NYPD officers, just as “one of the most fearless cops ever to don a uniform.” He was honored for knowing how to stop the cycle of violence that persists when people choose to be separated. According to Police Commissioner James O’Neill, the best tools for doing this, as McDonald taught his colleagues, are “love, respect, and forgiveness.”
After being injured, McDonald was promoted to detective and continued to work with the NYPD until his death. Also, he had the opportunity to meet Pope John Paul II and Nelson Mandela, as he was recognized as a beacon of forgiveness and compassion.
The heartfelt act of forgiveness occurred after Jones, the boy who shot him, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted murder. Sadly, Jones died shortly in a motorcycle accident after he was released, according to CBS.
For a moment, it seemed that Fifth Avenue could not serve as the venue for the parade, as a storm occurred on Tuesday that left the streets teeming with snow. Thankfully, the St. Patrick’s parade board worked hard to have the sidewalks and streets cleared of snow.