Police Commissioner Bill Bratton joined the President of the Gay Officers Action League, NYPD Detective Carl Locke for a flag raising in Bowling Green, NYC on Mar. 13, 2014. (Arthur Piccolo image)
News Americas, BOWLING GREEN, NY, Fri. Mar. 14, 2014: For the first time in New York City’s history, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton joined the President of the Gay Officers Action League, NYPD Detective Carl Locke, for a flag raising ceremony Thursday ahead of the St. Patrick’s Parade set for Monday, March 17, 2014.
The flag raising was dedicated to an under recognized Irish American hero, Hercules Mulligan, who as a leading member of the Sons of Liberty led the New York colonists on the night of July 9, 1776, at Bowling Green, NY to celebrate the US’ independence. The patriots smashed the “barricades” that surrounded Bowling Green Park to reclaim their park which the British had closed to them from 1771.
Neither Commissioner Bratton or NYPD Detective Locke made any statements at the flag raising but their presence together volumes since the St. Patrick’s’ Day Parade on 5th Avenue which has place a ban on gay pride signs or banners at the parade.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, however, allows gay people to march, but argues that banners celebrating homosexuality would divert the parade’s focus of honoring Irish heritage.
The decision has resulted in Mayor Bill de Blasio becoming the first mayor in decades to sit out the March 17th parade while major sponsor, Sam Adams, has pulled out of the parade.
The powerful symbolism of Thursday’s flag raising gave hope to some and served in some minds to send a strong message throughout the Irish community that bravery and dedication to public safety knows no sexual preference boundaries.
GOAL will not march in the Parade that now spans the globe and had its beginning on March 17, 1762, as an informal march. Commissioner Bratton will march in the parade.