By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
EAST DURHAM — Patriotism was on full display this year at the annual Fourth of July parade in East Durham.
Marchers made their way down Route 145, headed for the Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural & Sports Centre, where everyone gathered after the parade for hot dogs, ice cream and activities for the kids.
People lined the parade route, waving flags and cheering for the marchers.
“We are locals and this is a fun parade,” said Heather Kissane, who brought her two young sons. “They love it — it is something they look forward to every year.”
Her sons, Gerard, 8, and Justin, 3, waved red, white and blue toy wind spinners as they awaited the parade’s start.
Round Top resident Cheryl Pushman said she comes to the parade to show her patriotism and have a fun time.
“I want to support the United States,” Pushman said. “It’s a great parade and it’s really a lot of fun and there are a lot of activities and excitement. It’s great for both kids and adults.”
The parade was led by the color guard from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, with dozens of local organizations, businesses, elected officials and others following them down the parade route.
Greene County Sheriff Peter Kusminsky said Independence Day is an opportunity to celebrate patriotism and the founding of the nation.
“Today is extremely important to recognize the foundation of this country and what it was meant to be,” Kusminsky said. “Patriotism can’t be forgotten. It’s an awesome day and we should celebrate it all weekend long.”
Oliver Fallon, with the Knights of Columbus, said he participates in the parade every year, marching with the K of C.
“We want to let people know we are here and to increase our visibility,” Fallon said. “The Fourth of July parade shows the spirit of the American flag and honors the country.”
The annual parade is an opportunity for local residents of all political backgrounds to celebrate together as a community, Greene County Legislator Patty Handel, R-Durham, said.
“This brings the community together,” Handel said. “We are a very small community and there are not a lot of times we can all come together, no matter what your political affiliation is, no matter what your beliefs are. Coming together as a community is always very important. You get to see people you haven’t seen all winter long and celebrate together. I think it’s awesome that people come out to support the entire town and each other.”
For Cairo Town Councilman Tim Powers, celebrations like Durham’s Fourth of July parade are an opportunity to return a sense of loyalty and dedication to country.
“We need to restore patriotism to our communities and it starts at the town level,” Powers said. “It really does.”
Here are more photos from the parade: