Back in the forties and early fifties, if you lived in the Irish Metropolis, the myth prevailed that if you weren’t a Dubliner, then you just had to be a “Corkonian”! The reason for this was that one of our early Prime Ministers – Willie Cosgrove – happened to be a Corkman, and his county and political patronage was more than evident. But despite this advantage, and to our own good fortune, our Parade Grand Marshal Danny Lane chose to emigrate in 1949.
Daniel J. Lane was born in Ballydesmond, County Cork, the second youngest of a family of six, four brothers and one sister. Arriving in the United States in 1949 he settled down in Manhasset. In 1952 he married Sally Daly, a County Tyrone colleen. Together they raised four children: Dennis, Patricia, Sioban and Danny Joe. He is a very proud grandfather of six: Roxanne, Anthony, Stephen, Kevin, James and Caitlin.
County Cork is steeped in a tradition of great hurlers and footballers, but above all, it is known as the county of great national heroes and freedom fighters, who much eulogized in song and prose: men like O’Donovan Rossa, Terence McSweeney, Thomas McCurtain and many more. These patriots were all idols of Danny’s. He was imbued with their spirit of patriotism. This was coupled with the fact that his late wife Sally came from one of the partitioned counties of Ireland. As a result, whenever and wherever Ireland’s cause has needed a helping hand no one has come forward more quickly, more generously or with better heart than Danny Lane.
He served as Chairman for “Full Freedom for Ireland Committee in 1959 and 1960, he has been actively involved with Irish Northern Aid since 1969 and he has been a member of the American Irish Congress.
In 1960 Danny was elected President of Local 447 of the Utility Workers Union and remained President until June 1979 when he resigned to take up a managerial position with Citizens Water Company. He also served on the Board of Directors of Eastern Water Works for a three year term, serving New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Our Grand Marshal is an active member of the Irish American Society which is where many have come to know and love the true Danny. When the Society purchased its present Center building and needed help with renovations, Danny Lane gave unselfishly of his time and talent. He served on the Board of Directors for two terms. Anyone familiar with his service there would venture to say that if Danny were asked what his greatest pride in the Society was, he would say, “Oh, that we have the great Inis Fada Pipers’ Band” – which he joined in 1958 and performed with until 1983. His moments of triumph and joy were when he played and competed all over the United States with the band and the many trophies and championships they won over the years he was involved.
On March 17th 2013, while Danny leads the Hibernians and marchers in the Glen Cove St. Patrick’s Day Parade we know that his heart will be overflowing with pride and joy for all the Hibernians who have honored him this day, and we know that, deep in his heart, his thoughts and memories will dwell, as always, on his homeland. There will be a yearning, a hope and a dream that someday in the not too distant future, he can lead a parade through the streets of Derry, Belfast, Newry or Armagh and that the pipers will be playing “A Nation Once Again”.
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat Domnaill – May the Road Rise to Meet You, Danny!