SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Sergeant William Jasper is still recognized today as an important piece of American history.

Thursday, the St. Patrick’s Day committee hosted their annual Sergeant William Jasper parade and ceremony. 

The event included guest speakers and performances including Rick Merritt, who is a U.S. Army retired command sergeant major who served as this year’s keynote speaker.

Merritt said,  “Oh, I am very humble man I spent almost 36 years in the army and I did that by surrounding myself around men and women better than me, and the looks of it today with all the veterans and patriots here still doing that, but it was quite an honor, very humbled to speak.”

The event also focused heavily on our U.S. Military including our past and present members. Merritt credits Sgt. Jasper, and says we would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for his bravery for our country.

“So we have a nation that needs to be reminded what this country was founded on and the freedom and in a country where all are free of all race, creed, religion and if it wasn’t for men like Sgt. Jasper that you see behind us, we wouldn’t have an Irish part of the day and probably not even be the United States of America, so never forget,” Merritt said. 

Darragh O’Brien, Ireland Parliament member says these traditions are important and are another reason to keep Irish American heritage alive. 

O’Brien said, “It’s a celebration of everything that’s Irish, but in Ireland as well. This event and these events are for everybody and our parades are right across the world are all-inclusive and it’s about people enjoying it and it’s a great opportunity for Ireland as well to show its wears and to build our ties, really strong ties that we have here with the state.”