GREENWICH, Conn. -- John Halpin is no longer the chairman of the Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade, but the Irish immigrant who left his native land for a better life in America 44 years ago proudly participated in Sunday's parade.
The parade is in its 41st year. He was chairman for 21 of those years before finally relinquishing his title in 2006.
To him, the day is to celebrate Irish pride.
"Today is also is about St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland, which is very important to me," he said.
Halpin is from the town of Ardagh in County Longfort in the center of Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1971. He said he came, just as millions of others did, looking for a better life.
"It is the land of milk and honey, the land of opportunity," he said. "Even today, people are risking their lives to come to this great country."
Halpin worked in a factory after he arrived in the United States. But he eventually studied computers and worked as an IT shift supervisor at Brinks headquarters in Darien until he retired in 2000.
By his side Sunday was his 13-year-old grandson Seamus, who said he has been to Ireland nine or 10 times to visit his many relatives who still live there. Seamus has been a regular at the parade as long as he can remember.
"I've been here my whole life," he said while wearing a coat that had the County Longford crest emblazoned on it.
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