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Ravens parade draws north Baltimoreans to City Hall

North Baltimore was well represented in Ravens Nation as a noontime parade in honor of the Super Bowl champions kicked off outside City Hall on Tuesday, followed by a victory celebration at M&T Bank Stadium.

"How often do you get to do this?" said city school board commissioner Robert Heck, of Roland Park, who brought his five children, Michael, 12, a student at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, and Thomas, 15, Brooks, 16, Julia, 15, and Becca, 15, all students at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

"This is this generation's moment," said Heck, who remembers going to a parade for the World Series champion New York Mets in 1986.

Kate Schmelyun, of Mount Washington, held her son, Will, 7. She works as a communications specialist for the Mayor's Office of Employment Development, but took the morning off from work to watch the parade with Will.

"He's been way into football," she said. "I wanted him to see this."

Lori Curry, of Hampden, a packing specialist, brought her son, Nicholas, 7, "just to be here and be a part of this and thank the Ravens for giving us a great season."

Nicholas wore a Joe Flacco jersey and a Ravens parka.

"I love the Ravens and I really want to meet Ray Rice and Ray Lewis and Haloti (Ngata)," Nicholas said. He added that he wants to be a football player on defense when he grows up.

"Then, I'll retire and be a country singer," he said.

Many in the crowd worked downtown and walked to City Hall, waiting patiently in the cold for about an hour past schedule for the parade to start. John McLane, of Charles Village, an assistant state attorney general, came on his lunch hour because he didn't want to miss celebrating the Ravens' victory.

"It doesn't happen often enough," McLane said.

An estimated 200,000 people came from around the region, including Ellicott City, West Friendship in Howard County, Frederick, Parkton, Perry Hall, Edgewood, Riverdale in Prince George's County and Silver Spring in Montgomery County.

Chrissy Diffenderffer came on crutches. The Ruxton resident is healing from a recent knee replacement and rode with her sister, Lisa Barber, of Monkton, to City Hall.

"I wouldn't miss this — and I have physical therapy at 1 p.m.," Diffenderffer said. Her only regret was that she would miss an afternoon of entertainment and celebration at M&T Bank Stadium following the parade.

"I can't walk to the stadium," she said.

The view of the pre-parade festivities from street level was nearly non-existent, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Dr. Joel Meshulam, an internist at Mercy Medical Center, stood on one of the large tires of a Chevy Suburban SUV and held his cell phone camera aloft to shoot video..

"I'm a physician," he said. "If I fall, I'll heal myself."

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