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Every year I try to out do myself at the fourth of  July extravaganza.  Last year was not just a little special as it was the 100th Anniversary of the countries longest running July 4th Parade. Needless to say the staff and the volunteers under Committee Chairman Janice Blanchard worked as hard as ever to pull off another stunning event.   Matter-of-fact they already started the balls in motion to get next year's festival together.  
Kicking off the morning was Mayor Bloomberg with the Introductions of Dignitaries & Honored Guests and opening remarks..

The Mayor of course is always a big draw and he is very accessible on this very hot day in Staten Island.
We do have our own politicians here for the occasion such as the lovely Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
Former Borough President Guy Molinari thanks a veteran for serving our country.

  Here we have Councilwoman Debbie Rose, United States Army Capt. Adam Scher, Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Diane Savino leading the Parade.

I have been covering the Travis Parade for years and I still get chills when I think of all the love and devotion  this little town has for so many.  Things are right here, while the parade is all about celebrating our veterans, Firemen should be Heros in every community.  With all the changes this country has gone though, some things that Americans will never lose is the unending commitment to protect others and the unselfish risk of all to save those in harms way.
    I'm grateful that I have access to to New York's current Mayor, actually I'm the only photographer allowed in the back of the firehouse where Bloomberg gets to relax for a little while before leaving Staten Island and continuing on with the rest of his hectic day.  I remember so many times  being told by Mayor Giuliani's bodyguards that the Mayor needs his space or to stop taking photos.  Of course I have a problem with taking too many dang photos but to me the next image always looks better than the last! 
Personally I like to believe that the current Mayor knows that I was the founder of an Art Form that his predecessors had a very hard time in cleaning up! LOL