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.
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!