A parade procession and about 80 years were all that separated the grand marshal and honorary grand marshal at the 25th annual Glen Cove St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday.
Grand Marshal Daniel J. Lane, 89, a lifelong advocate for Irish culture and awareness, led the parade, and Honorary Grand Marshal Nicholas Pedone, 7, who was diagnosed with cancer last fall, sat in the fire truck that brought up the rear.
Parade organizers said both marshals show what it means to have a fighting Irish spirit.
“This community seems to amaze me every day,” said Josephine Pedone, Nicholas’ mother, adding that Nicholas is still in and out of hospitals for treatment. “We just roll with the punches and Nicholas’ smile on his face as he goes through this torturous journey in his life.”
Josephine Pedone, of Glen Cove, was surprised and happy to have her son, who is fighting neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that forms in nerve tissue, serve as the honorary grand marshal in the parade because she hopes he brings more awareness of his disease. The Glen Cove Fire Department picked up Nicholas and his father toward the end of the parade route, and they rode in the fire truck for the remainder of the parade.
Joe McDonald, an aide to the grand marshal, said that naming Lane grand marshal was an honor long overdue. He has been a resident of the Glen Cove community for most of his life, has served on multiple town boards and committees and has always been active in his Irish culture. He was one of the first members of the Inis Fada Pipers’ Band.
He hails from Ballydesmond in County Cork, Ireland.
“We never have a shortage of someone to honor,” Joe McDonald, an aide to the grand marshal, said. “It’s a celebration of our Irish culture.”
McDonald, who has been working with the parade for the past seven years, said he feels honored to march alongside a man like Lane.
“It’s a thrill to walk down the street and hear the cheers of your friends and neighbors all celebrating your heritage,” Lane said. “It’s a celebration of Glen Cove. It’s a celebration of heritage and culture.”