This year, as in past years, I marched with my American Legion Post in the local Memorial Day Parade. I carried a rifle as part of the color guard that led our unit down the main street in town. Unfortunately, with the exception of the two blocks that comprise the center of town, there were pitifully few spectators.
As we sweated our way down the largely empty street followed by the high school band, I found myself wondering why I bothered to participate. Sure, there were isolated pockets of people at the curb who clapped at we marched by, but it was not like parades of years ago with crowds along the entire parade route large enough to attract the pretzel and balloon vendors who always seemed to appear each year from God knows where. This year the pretzlel and balloon vendors were elsewhere.
Just then, a lady along the parade route stepped off the curb to hand me three lilies tied together with a red, white and blue ribbon. She said, “These are in memory of my father. Would you carry them, sir?”
Thanks to her, I’ll march again next year.