American flags were fluttering under sunny skies Friday along Broadway and the South Street Seaport, where schoolchildren waved Old Glory and marched to patriotic music played by drum and fife bands dressed in colonial garb.
Wearing red, white and blue cowboy hats and donning sparkly flag stickers on their cheeks, several hundred children brought bright smiles to hundreds of office workers and construction crews who may have forgotten that it was Flag Day.
In lower Manhattan, public and Catholic schoolchildren commemorated the 236th Flag Day by singing such patriotic songs as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" at the Fraunces Tavern Museum -- where George Washington in 1783 bid farewell to his officers after winning the American Revolution.
"I'm so excited for my grandchildren. They are so happy right now being out there," said Suzanne Schry, 68, whose three grandchildren attend PS 2 in Manhattan.
"They are so proud of themselves. We should give our kids a little bit more of this patriotism," she said.
Daniel Gomez, 10, a fourth grader at Immaculate Conception School in Astoria, Queens, won the Sons of the Revolution in the state of New York essay contest, "What does the American flag mean to me?"
Reading from his essay to a crowd on Pearl Street, Gomez said: "When I was 3 years old I saw a flag hanging from our porch. When I asked my parents what the flag meant they said it was important to show how proud we are to be American." His parents hail from Spain and Ireland, he added.
Gomez said his grandfather, who served in the Air Force after the Korean War, taught him that the flag is "a symbol of freedom" and that it "reminds us how lucky we are to live in America." He concluded his essay by saying that the flag represents people from other nations. "It represents one big family -- an American family," Gomez said, as his classmates applauded and cheered.