Memorial Day in our town is always a special occasion. When I was young, we called it Decoration Day, but be that as it was, we still decorate…and remember.
Standing beside the highway
we always wait patiently for the moment when the parade comes into view.
It’s an exciting time for folks, young and old,
to celebrate the lives and service which many have given
for our country.
We can’t see them yet, but our ears tell us the high school band is playing
several blocks away
as they announce their arrival.
Today the foot tapping music of the parade is
“God Bless America” (thanks to Kate Smith)
and “I’m Proud To Be An American” (thanks to Lee Greenwood).
The county fire trucks are blowing their sirens
as they slowly drive along the parade route.
The driver in each truck waves happily to the crowds
as he passes by.
Here come the clowns.
People dressed in clown suits walk on either side of the highway,
giving candy to the children
who are enjoying the fun.
Each and every road leading to the main highway
is blocked off by law enforcement
until the parade has passed.
This year, the highway near the library
is our place to watch the parade.
Next to us, is a young Mother and her two little girls
who are waiting excitedly for the American flag and the high school band
to pass directly in front of them.
I could hear the young woman softly advising her daughters
to stand on the curb until the parade was in view.
She told them…
“When the American flag passes by,
stand quietly with your right hand over your heart,
face the flag until it has passed.”
(And she showed them, which hand was the right hand,
and where one’s heart is located.)
She didn’t know I was listening through the open window in my car.
I’m pleased that I was.
Through the years,
and especially the last few years,
certain moments can bring me to tears.
This was one of those moments.
I’m sad that many have forgotten
to teach our young children
respect for other people,
our country’s flag, traditions and beliefs.
We’ve somehow overlooked the responsibility of passing these legacies
to the children of future generations.
The quiet young Mother and her little girls left a lasting impression.
I hope you’ll take a moment to share it with me.
God Bless The USA
Photography By Mary Anne Tuck