Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day Parades...

Our parade is small.

Of course, our town is small.  Sweet. A mix of rural/farm/suburban. Kind of typical, right? With lots of apple trees.



So our Memorial Day Parade is only about ten minutes long.

I used to take the kids when they were knee-high to a grasshopper. They'd salute the soldiers and the flag. The boys would ogle the cool, camo-clad jeeps, trucks, tanks.




THEY LOVED IT!!!!

And then they got older and we got older and work interrupted and I got out of the habit of going. When I was waitressing, I worked most Memorial Days. But then there was a bunch of years where I just got busy doing other things.

Shame on me!  What a dork.  About ten years ago, I realized my priorities were skewed so I made it a pledge to go to every Memorial Day parade from that day forward. I missed one, when I had to work at the bakery job (pre-publishing) because they had no one else and I know how tough it is for managers to drum up last minute help...

But I've made the others.

Because what would we do if the soldiers didn't have time to soldier on? To work? To defend? To fight, as needed?

Their choices are limited.

Now the grandkids come along. They like the parade...  Dressing in red/white/blue outfits. Waving little flags. Cheering.  And their parents remember going as kids, saluting the flag. Listening to the memorial speeches.

And two years ago I stood alongside a former soldier whose stance and expression inspired a book..."His Mistletoe Family" due out this December is based on that soldier, a man of substance, standing tall, somewhat grim, wearing a USAF cap with two teensy, tinsy yellow ribbons pinned to the hat behind his left ear. Those ribbons were part of his story, and he became the model for Colonel Brett Stanton, retired, U.S. Army the hero of my 2012 Christmas book.

All because I went to a small-town parade on Memorial Day.

So this Monday, we'll be there again, on Main Street.  And I'm wishing you all well and hoping you get the chance to attend a Memorial Day service.

Because we're so very blessed to call this land home!




17 comments:

  1. My time thing messed up again. That's the second time in two weeks... When I went to bed, it was set for 12:01 AM... When I popped in to check today, this post wasn't up and was set for 21:55 PM....

    Which was about when I finished it after choir last night (9:55 East Coast time)... This is so bizarre and maybe a message to me to stay on top of things!!! ;) I just love Memorial Day. The sanctity of sacrificial love. Maybe that's why I love to write about soldiers and cops... sigh...

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  2. Is Memorial day a public holiday? I see it is. I guess its a bit like our Anzac day although I think its a slightly different day. Anzac day here is April 25th and remembers the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli. It was first real taste of war and they landed at the wrong place thanks to British incompetance but they held that area for longer than they should have and so many of our diggers gave there lives there. My great uncle was one of them. On April 25th most towns have a dawn service and small parade and the bigger towns and cities have a bigger parade to remember all the diggers who gave their lives and also returned. its remembers all wars.

    I cant wait to read your Christmas story it sounds so good (but at the same time dont want the year to go that fast!)

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    1. Jenny, I can relate! At my age I have to be careful not to wish my life away, holiday to holiday! One of my favorite books/movies is A Town Like Alice.... Oh, Jenny, what a great story and it was my first glimpse of what life might down under... God bless those diggers! And Australia for taking a stand against so much.

      You guys rock.

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  3. I like to do it up right and go to the Memorial Day parade in Waterloo, NY, The ' Birthplace of Memorial Day." They take this holiday so seriously that they celebrate it on May 30th every year regardless of the weekday, as well as celebrating it over the full Memorial Day (public holiday) weekend.

    Jenny, it is a public holiday. Schools and banks and post offices are closed. Most other businesses and stores are open and as the government likes to shove holidays onto Mondays, it is the big weekend that officially starts the summer season even though many schools aren't out yet for the summer. "Summer" is sort of from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Weekend (the first weekend in Sept.) The Government allows the Fourth of July to be on the fourth, but we try to push it toward one weekend or the other anyway!


    So, I just had my first bit of potato salad last night. I guess it's summer after all...Thanks Ruthy!

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    1. How did I not know that about Waterloo????

      Oh my stars, ROAD TRIP!!!!!

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  4. Oh, Ruthy, I got teary just reading your post. I have to say that I don't think anyone does a parade better than y'all do in the states. Ours (Canada) are kind of mediocre at best...and few and far between. We don't have Memorial Day, but we celebrate Remembrance Day in November but without a parade to be found -- that I know about anyway. There is something so stirring about a parade -- especially if it has a marching band. Sniffle. I'll have to border hop one day and see what all the fuss is about.

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    1. Kav, what part of CA are you in? West or East or Central? Is there anyone who lives central????

      Come visit me. We'll go to parades and eat fried dough and apple pie and be All Americans.

      It will be FUN!!!!

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  5. When I was in high school band I got to march in every Memorial Day parade. We started downtown and then marched three miles to the cemetery where a large number of WW I veterans had been buried.

    I remember watching the parade one year (pre-high school), and it was the last year WW I vets were in it. Three old men in a convertible. Even then I was struck by what they had seen in their lives!

    Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day, and was a day to remember the soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. After WW I it was changed to Memorial Day and expanded to remember all those who had died in war. The tradition of wearing red poppies came into use after WW I, after the poem "In Flanders Fields" was written.

    The best town we've ever lived in for parades was Abilene, Texas. They love parades there, and it seemed there was at least one a month from April through October. The Hardin Simmons University Cowboy Marching Band always participated (the highlight of anyone's day - you have to see them to believe them) and, of course, being Texas, there were always plenty of cowboys.

    Last year on the 4th we found a parade that was just as good - worth the drive to a small town about an hour north of us. Rodeo queens, riding clubs, local celebrities, high school reunion floats... It was a ton of fun, even though we didn't know anyone.

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    1. Oh, that does sound like fun, Jan! A Cowboy Marching Band... And Texas... And steak and potato salad... And poppies.

      I've got to go to Philly for the 4th of July parade before I die. The birthplace of American Independence.... Amazing place to visit historically.

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  6. Thanks, Ruthie..........we'll be at our cottage but on Monday, I am going to go to Wolcott, the small town nearby, and watch their parade. It IS important and your story touched me. I am proud to live in this country and call each soldier our "sons" and "daughters". Looking foward to your new book...........blessings to you all!

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    1. Hey, my first boyfriend was from Wolcott, LOL!

      Nice guy, too.

      Wait. Second boyfriend.

      Oh, yikes, I was obviously LOOSE!!! ;) Anyway they were both nice guys. Not as nice as the one I lassoed in high school, of course!!! ;) Enjoy that parade!!!!

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  7. Jan here there is a saying plant the flanders poppies seeds on ANZAC day and you have the flowers for Remembrance day.

    Kav our remembrance day is quiet most will have a gathering at the war memorials in there town at 11am for a short service but its a normal day. I will wear a poppy our of respect for the diggers who gave there lives.

    Debra thanks for the information. Here ANZAC day is always on the day it falls April 25th.

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    1. Jenny, fascinating stuff. So good to not forget or take sacrifice lightly.

      Lives are too sacred to take casually.

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  8. Ruthy, what a sweet story about that soldier. I don't remember hearing that before. Love that you used it in a story!!

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    1. Had to. Just the look on his face. So firm, so focused, kind of painted with memories I couldn't imagine.

      Or it could have been FEAR because he thought the plump aging blonde was STALKING HIM....

      :)

      Yeah. He had a story... So I had to tell it. My version, anyway. Right?

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  9. Ruthy, if you're still around, Tina is trying to email you to get an address! Please check your email. :)

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    1. Never mind! I heard Mary found you. :)

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