There is a wonderful sameness about 4th of July parades…
…The high school bands, red-faced in 100-degree heat, but high-stepping, with faithful Moms running alongside, spritzing the kids with water and looking as if someone needed to spritz them.
…The awkward, little girl dance troupes, with gangly legs and sparkly costumes, brandishing batons and toothless grins that turn parents and grandparents into lumps of loving goo.
…Acres of Boy and Girl Scouts, resplendent in uniforms plastered with patches and medals.
…Politicians, flashing winning smiles, aimed at gaining votes in the next election.
…Antique cars filled with antique grandmas and grandpas, waving and throwing candy to the kids on the sidelines.
…Fire trucks, sirens blaring, getting more applause and respect in this age of domestic and international terrorism.
…Papier-mache floats, transporting radiant beauty queens in glittering crowns and fairytale gowns.
…A van filled with Special Olympics athletes, getting more applause than the politicians.
The best part of the parade for me is last – everyone in the crowd standing, hats off and hands over hearts, as Old Glory passes by, escorted proudly by the high school drill team and followed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, in faded uniforms and polished boots. Patriotism, does, indeed, live.
Both of my grandfathers served in World War I, my father in World War II and my husband in Vietnam. I salute all of our veterans today and all of those brave service members still standing guard around the world, so we can attend 4th of July parades.
Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of two children’s books, Herman, the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing, and Revolt of the Teacups; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poems are also included in an anthology, Captured Moments.