Still running around here. In about sixty seconds, I have to head off to march in the Memorial Day Parade. I recall that when I began marching in the Memorial Day Parade, the crowds watching the Parade were sometimes three deep. Over the years the number has dwindled, and I fear the trend will continue. Pretty sad, that.
Please take a moment today to give a thought to the American service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
UPDATE: As I had expected, the parade route was again sparsely populated, although there were considerably more spectators that lined the curbs of the two blocks that comprise the actual center of town. Still, the crowds were nothing compared to what they used to be.
The good news is that those who did turn out for the parade were wonderful. As we marched down the street (I was a rifle toter in the color guard), the onlookers applauded for each of the Veterans Organizations, and over and over again, we heard “Thank you!” coming from the spectators. It was quite moving, to say the least.
The clincher came after the parade at the town’s Memorial Park, where the post-parade ceremonies are held. The ceremonies include five members of our Post providing a rifle salute (three volleys) before “Taps” is played and the flag is raised from its half-staff position.
As the five of us were were standing around with our rifles waiting for the ceremonies to begin, a man who appeared to be in his late twenties came up to each of us, shook our hands and said “Thank you.” With him were his two young sons in Cub Scout uniforms. He said to the boys, “Shake these men’s hands and tell them thank you,” which they did.
At that moment, I can tell you there were five lumps in five grown men’s throats.
It was a good day, after all.