I am embarrassed to admit that I can’t recall the last time I attended a Memorial Day parade. The last Monday in May is a bit odd that way. I look forward to a 3-day weekend and an opportunity to get together with family and friends, for sure. But the big parade around these parts is Dairy Princess, in early June. Memorial Day gets short shrift.
This year, I’m happy to say, was different for the sole reason that Henry’s daddy was marching in the parade! Henry could hardly have been more excited as we huddled in the rain. There were flashing lights and marching men and women who slowed to allow for the ceremony on the bridge. It was a sober moment, remembering those who have given so much for so many. We were all startled by the 21-gun salute as the memorial wreath was floated downriver and the parade kicked back into gear. Henry loved waving to the kids riding in the trucks and flying his small flag.
Not far behind the marchers were the fire trucks. Ooooh. That was the best part. Every little hamlet within ten miles of our small town had a truck in the parade. Henry counted 10 — although it’s possible he double counted one or two or three, counting to ten was impressive in its own right. In the midst of it all, there was Henry’s Daddy in his shiny black boots and tall hat, carrying a flag. It was a proud moment for Henry and all of us.
~ René Morley
PS I hope I made penance for some of my Memorial Day lapse watching the HBO movie Tuskegee Airmen this weekend. What a powerful story of triumph against the odds and in the face of nearly every kind of disadvantage, not the least of which was racial discrimination. What a tremendous testimony of personal sacrifice for the greater good. It’s no wonder they call that generation Greatest.