PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Legendary entertainer Joe Piscopo is the Grand Marshall of the 2011 Philadelphia Columbus Day Parade on Sunday in South Philadelphia.

Columbus Day helps Joe Piscopo pause to remember the courage of his Italian grandparents who carried their life in a suitcase before landing at Ellis Island in New York.

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“That trek not knowing anybody in the new land… All I keep thinking of is that image of my grandparents coming here and it makes me work so much harder today.”

Piscopo relishes the opportunity to be leading the parade in the nation’s birthplace.

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“So when I’m acknowledging any way especially in the magnitude of the Columbus Day Parade in Philadelphia with this great Italian-American tradition I honor it and I take it very seriously.”

And in spite of their early indignities Piscopo says Italian immigrants and other immigrants ended up being the backbone of America.

Reported By Cheryl Elias, KYW Newsradio

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