HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Irish Flag now flies over the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in Holyoke.

The Irish flag was raised Sunday afternoon by the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee and Honor Guard Joe Bevins with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of District 7 & Post 625.

The monument erected near the Our Lady of the Cross Roman Catholic Church at Appleton and Sycamore Street holds deep significance for the parade committee members attending the ceremony.

“It’s always meant a great deal, JFK was and still is in memory to many of our members,” said Marc Joyce, St. Patrick’s Parade Committee President. “The greatest president ever, but it’s a real treat to have people in Holyoke come together like this.”

2020 Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Grand Marshal, John Driscoll told 22News, “We’ve met here each year to raise the Irish flag, and also to bring over the JFK award winner, the night before the parade.”

For 2020 Holyoke Grand Colleen Moira McDermott and her court, the flag-raising is part of the rich history they’re learning about the roots of st. patrick’s parade traditions.

“Seeing these traditions that have lasted for so long, I met someone yesterday who knew and was related to the first Colleen ever, and knowing where it’s come from and where it is now is really special,” she expressed.

Parade committee members explained that the late president had marched in the parade years ago. This year’s event will be the 69th Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade.