Show your Colors – Patriot’s Day

I thought of Patriot’s Day last 4th of July while I watched my first Charlesboro 4th of July Parade. The parade route is nothing but a country road in the Charlesboro community about 7 miles from where I live. But this was the parade’s 33rd year.

There has to be something other than just wanting to be in a parade that has kept this home-grown event going for 33 years. There are no bands. Politicians aren’t supposed to hang their banners. Anyone with a vehicle can participate, the only requirement is that the flag or the colors red, white and blue are prominently displayed. The same gentleman dressed as Uncle Sam for many of those years, now a younger relative makes an appearance.

And people from all over come to watch! They back their cars and pick-ups onto the shoulder, under the shade trees and set up their lawn chairs-either on the ground or in the truck beds. One vendor, Maw and Paw’s Boiled Peanuts sells peanuts, popcorn and cherry lemonade. The proceeds go to a Veterans’ organization.

I watched like a native – sitting in  my lawn chair, eating my first-ever bag of boiled peanuts. 🙂 People treated me like I was a member of the community, teased me about those peanuts, and were happy I’d decided to join them. They shouted hellos and traded news with those in the parade. They made sure the little ones were paying attention. Then they gathered at the cemetery to place flags and honor their dead.

And my first thought was, this is patriotism at its most basic element – the love and respect for the flag and what it represents, the sense of community and pride in it, families instilling in their children those loves.

Today we honor and remember those who died eleven years ago. We honor and remember those who have fought, and continue to fight, as a consequence of that tragedy. As I write this, ‘tragedy’ seems a weak word to describe that day.

When I attend the official local parades, the ones down Main Street complete with bands and politicians, I’m moved to tears when I see the number of high school students in the Jr. ROTC units. I have to believe that some of that service begins with watching a parade from the back of a pick-up, waving their colors.

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2 Responses to Show your Colors – Patriot’s Day

  1. Claire A. Iannini says:

    Thank you for the reminder, Kim. I had some running around to do today and during my errands, I passed many patriotic individuals on overpasses holding flags. They all made me emotional, but one gentleman started the tears, because he stood at attention, holding a large flag on each side of him, looking toward the heavens – I believe doing what I was doing – thanking God for people like him and our men and women fighting to preserve our freedom.
    When I got myself together, and was approaching yet another overpass, I was ready this time, and blinked my high-beams like a mad woman. As I was about to go under the bridge, and elderly gentleman, a flag in one hand, pointed to me with the other, and then saluted! Oh, dear, the tears started again. Needlesstosay, by the time I arrived at my first appointment, I had no eyeliner left, but I’m so proud to be an American!!

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