I Love a Parade
True to form, we kept with tradition and attended our local village's Memorial Day parade. Like bitching about the weather not getting warm enough fast enough, staying married and sneaking into the Fourth of July fireworks display from the back road, its something we've done every year for the last five years we've lived here.
It's fun in a small town way and reassuring that people still gather for a non-virtual, un-web based, only interactive if you wave back celebration of the men and women who've served our nation since we were still a bunch of backwoods coots pissed off about stamps, tea and the rowdy platoon of Yorkshiremen camped out in the parlor.
The parade pretty much runs the same course every year with the more or less same floats and displays. The Boy Scouts start off carrying Old Glory. Everybody takes off their hats or holds their hands above their hearts because we don't live in a place, we live in an idea. Then there's a platoon of bagpipers demonstrating what you might hear if you were to say, choke the life out of an unsuspecting sheep. Then there's a vintage military vehicle which accounts for the idiots from the local pacifist cult sitting this one out. Then there's the Mystery Gap.
Happens every year. Its like the Scouts get hopped up on Red Bull and just keep too quick a pace for the string band down a ways to both keep up and keep in tune. The street empties and people start to stare up the hill towards the corner that the parade has to turn down to hit the main drag. And its not a short gap. There's a period of five to eight minutes that nothing happens and you start to wonder just how deep the sequester cuts went.
The string band turns the corner and you wish the gap were longer.
At some point the parade disintegrates into a bunch of pick up trucks with little league teams waving from the bed. Silly, but still preferable to the vintage convertibles carrying the local politicians. Don't wave at them with more than one finger, they'll get encouraged and the next thing you know there's some new legislation regulating problems that never really existed. Wave to the town mayor, he's a good guy and actually gets the important stuff done. The streets are plowed, the trash gets picked up and you can walk downtown because its a welcoming place.
There were some new acts this year. There was an Aztec dance troop. We were careful not to mention Vera Cruz or 1848 around them. There were Chinese interpretive dancers. Very nice but two hours later, I wanted to dance again. Some floats dropped out. There were more vintage military vehicles than last year and the animal rescue shelter, pulling dogs in kid's wagons didn't make it this year.
The veterans got older too. I would guess that most of the grizzled geezers were Korean theater and not WWII. There is always a line of service men and women that parade in the uniform of a particular conflict after the Civil War re-enactors have marched through and loosed their muskets in the middle of town, just like you'd expect a bunch of Yankees to do. They start with WWI, with their tommy helmets and leggings, carry on to WWII, then Korea, then Vietnam and strangely there it ends. I'm of a mind that we should add in representatives of my war, the Cold one, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. We should pay them honor and put their conflicts into our history where they belong and welcome them home.
Sadly, they'll have to leave again sometime. The world is like that. Thankfully, they'll be there to go because its not a place, its an idea.
Thank you, Veterans.