Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Firefighters to sit out St. Patrick's Day Parade if
they can't wear their green

By Sam Dolnick, Associated Press, 3/16/2005 14:29

NEW YORK (AP)
If they can't march in their green, they won't march at all.

In response to a Fire Department order prohibiting its members from wearing their customary green berets during the St. Patrick's Day Parade, hundreds of firefighters will watch from the sidelines Thursday clad in their traditional holiday headgear and civilian clothes, several firefighters said Wednesday.

The group will gather along the parade route at the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to ''support our brothers and sisters as they march,'' said Lt. Eddie Boles of the 14th Battalion in the Bronx. But they will not defy orders prohibiting the berets, and they won't march without them.

''We understand the need for discipline,'' Boles said Wednesday during a press conference. ''However this tradition, the tradition of the green berets, has deep significance for us and we wanted to express our disappointment.''

The Fire Department issued an order on March 4 declaring that only the blue dress uniform, including the official uniform cap, could be worn during the parade. In capital letters and boldface type, the order banned the green berets.

Fire Department officials did not immediately return calls for comment or explanation.

Attorney Brian O'Dwyer, who held the press conference in his office, said he would file a complaint with the state Division on Human Rights charging that the Fire Department ''discriminated against them in their ethnic traditions and in the free exercise of religion.''

He acknowledged the move came too late to affect this year's parade.

The tradition of the green berets dates back more than 30 years to a Bronx firehouse. In 1970, the mother-in-law of a firefighter with Engine Co. 60 knitted dozens of green berets for the firefighters on St. Patrick's Day.

In 1975, the department gave the group official parade status. They've worn their berets in every parade since.

Although there is no official organization, they count about 1,000 members, including current, former, and retired members of the battalion, said Boles. Boles is not a spokesman for the group, but he said he was confident his colleagues will join the protest.

''It was a matter of pride,'' said Firefighter Jim McCarthy, who has worn the berets for 16 years. ''It's a demonstration of Irish heritage and it's one of the things we hold dear.''

Non-Irish firefighters wear green berets as well out of loyalty to the firehouse, McCarthy said.

The parade has been a New York tradition since 1762, and controversy has surrounded it for nearly as long.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, which organizes the event, has refused to allow lesbians and gays from marching in the parade under their own banner. An alternative, all-inclusive parade in Queens was launched six years ago to include groups like the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization.

The Bronx firefighters hope their silent protest will speak loudly.

''It is with great pride that I put my uniform on and I march up Fifth Avenue with my green beret, expressing my love for the department and expressing my love for my Irish heritage and culture,'' Boles said.

On the Net: http://www.fdnygreenberets.com.
 

·
MassCops Member
Joined
·
297 Posts
The silly things administrations worry about. In this day and age, with what's allowed in the public domain, berets seem a small concession and a symbol of pride, rather than diminishing professional appearance. :sb:

Just another 2 cents worth.
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,209 Posts
You guys are all wrong on this.

He's a Commissioner just like O'toole. If he detects that morale may be getting too high, he has a moral obligation to beat the brothers into submission.

Besides, he probably figured that the tams were not OSHA approved, so he didn't want to subject the City to the liability.

Maybe you guys ought to think before you post. :roll:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Note sarcasm. :p
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,334 Posts
This seems like it should not even be an issue. It appears to be a tradition that those on the department who are of Irish heritage take pride in and others support them because they are members of the brotherhood.

These traditions within fire and police departments generally foster much needed co-operation in the organization. In departments with lower morale it may be the few times a year during a parade or social event that most members are involved or in agreement. This "order" by the admin only serves to erode morale in a department that took a pretty big hit emotionally only a few years ago...they should get their heads out of wherever they may be stuck. :x
 

·
Czar of Cyncism and Satire
Joined
·
2,070 Posts
They got quite a rousing cheer when the NYPD cops passed them by at the MFA. I am proud to say I marched 44 blocks that day muself. 44th St. to 88th St. and then some.

I have heard of some animosity between NYPD and NYFD but to those I talked to, it seems just sporadic incidents have occured.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top