Parade goers anticipating the US Marine Corps Band to lead the 63rd Annual Miller Place-Rocky Point St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17 will be happy to hear the performance will go on as planned despite recent resistance from the Department of Defense.
Sen. Charles Schumer's office announced Wednesday that parade coordinators the Friends of St. Patrick were recently told by the band that because of sequestration, the band was prohibited by the Department of Defense from traveling on “non-essential” trips.
However, the band is sponsored by Friends of St. Patrick as well as the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the costs for food, travel and lodging are fully paid for by these organizations. It was announced by Schumer today that because they were made aware that these costs were covered, the band will in fact travel to continue with their scheduled performance.
"The parade has a rich 63-year long tradition on Long Island that celebrates Irish American heritage and parade goers, like myself, enjoy the U.S. Marine Corps Band’s performance,” said Schumer, a regular attendee at the parade. “Since the trip was already paid for by the parade’s organizers, I am pleased that the Department of Defense heeded my call and allowed the band to continue on with its performance."
The U.S. Marine Corps Band has performed at the parade 11 times, beginning in 1991. The Friends of St. Patrick and the Rocky Point have already spent $6,500 in preparing for the band’s trip, according to Schumer's office.
"The Band is a tribute to all the men and women in all branches of service that are in harms way fighting for the freedoms we enjoy here at home. They are the most anticipated marching unit of our parade. Thank you Senator Schumer for making this possible,” said Kevin McCarrick of The Friend’s of Saint Patrick.
Joe Cognitore, Commander VFW Post 6249 Rocky Point, added, "It is a privilege and an honor to have the Marine Band head this year's St Patrick’s Day Parade. This event is one of the biggest on Long Island and what better way to instill Patriotism in our community? We as veterans stand and salute those that made this day possible."