Parade gets better and better
As a veteran who participated, I don’t want to let a week go by without commenting on the 4th of July parade. It just seems to get better and better. This year the crowd was huge and so appreciative. I know it touched every veterans’ heart.
Last year I was walking behind two “older” gentlemen (I’m guessing WWII). I had been enthralled with the crowd. You’d be surprised how easy it is to pick out individual faces and voices. After we passed the Hotel Jerome, I noticed that these two men had been talking to each other the whole time. I said, “Guys! Look at the people. They want to thank you.” I saw them look around and actually see the people for the first time. Their whole demeanor changed; they stood a little taller and were genuinely affected by the event. They nodded at the men, women and children on the sidelines and never spoke another word.
This year I was behind them again. I came up with them, smiled and said “It’s OK to wave back.” You should have seen them grin! They waved. It was wonderful for both sides. As we passed the Elks Lodge, I happened to see a young woman trying to wave and brush the tears off her cheeks at the same time. I went over and hugged her. She said, “I’m sorry.” I said, “Don’t be, we all cry.” And we did.
So anyway, a heartfelt thanks for all the organizers and participants, and all those who stood, applauded and yelled “Thank You!” or “Welcome Home.” It meant a lot.
Lt. Col. Janis Nark, U.S. Army (ret.)
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