By Susan Monteleone
YULAN March 15, 2005 The sun was shining down and all eyes were Irish at the 33rd Annual Yulan Saint Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday.
The green shamrock was painted brightly in the center of the street in Yulan signalling that the parade was about to begin.
Sullivan County Chairman of the Legislature Chris Cunningham was on hand for the annual event.
"This parade marks that spring is just around the corner. It is an enjoyable parade to watch, and it is great to see so many people as well as families out here today to watch all the parade festivities, he said. Everyone is definitely Irish here today in Yulan, and this parade is very special today because we are honoring our American veterans. Our veterans are what made America what it is today, and honoring them is just a small way to say thank you to those who gave up so much to ensure our freedom.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther was enjoying every minute.
"I am 100 percent Irish, and I love a parade. It is really nice that this years grand marshalls are over 20 veterans from WWII. This parade is a great way to honor those who have given so much of themselves," she stated.
Also on hand was one of the original parade founder's sons, Robert O'Neill, the son of Marion O'Neill. Marion created the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Yulan, and that day as well as every Saint Patrick's Day Parade since her death a few years ago the main street of Yulan was renamed Marion O'Neill Drive.
Robert O'Neill was thrilled with the turnout and the day's events.
"I know Mom is smiling down upon us from heaven and enjoying the parade as much as we are today, he said. Today is a special parade because we are honoring 22 American veterans from WWII, and it is a great honor to have them here today.
O'Neill added, "This parade marks the end of the long winters and cold nights. . . . I know Mom is up in heaven saying, Up Yulan! and I know she would be proud of everyone here today."
The 33rd parade also hosted Miss Ireland Jessica Bisland and numerous floats, bands, organizations and the famous Highland Steppers, who did their Irish step-dancing at the four corners in Yulan.