Opinion: Letter to the Editor: No Stopping This Parade

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: No Stopping This Parade

I want to pay tribute to the extraordinary effort by the Ballyshaners to stage the St. Patrick’s Day Parade this Sunday, March 18, at 1:30 p.m. (postponed from a few weeks ago). As the parade director of the George Washington Birthday Parade, I know a lot about how much effort it takes to put on a parade and how difficult it is to cancel one. I have done both a number of times.

To pick up after a cancellation and re-organize a parade is the extraordinary part of this story. It means that parade organizers, volunteers, city support personnel (public safety, traffic, recreation, and many others), parade participants and sponsors have to regroup and basically put together a whole new event, almost from scratch, in a very short period of time. Questions about who is still available to participate, what support is available, what the parade route can be and many other practical elements have to be considered. This weekend all these people are going to put it together and make it happen.

Everyone in Alexandria should come out to see this amazing parade and show their support for this Herculean effort. It is not often that we can witness a public display of superior organization, teamwork, and perseverance but these qualities will certainly be on view on Sunday. It is particularly fitting that Bernadette and Pat Troy will be Grand Marshals for this parade because they epitomize the “can do” attitude all of us admire so much.

Kudos to everyone involved because I know how much planning and effort has gone into this event … twice! All of us should be proud of these folks — especially this year — and proud to be (at least a little) Irish on this very special day.

Joseph S. Shumard