We all went down to the local Memorial Day parade this morning. It seemed like a fun thing to do with the kids. It turned out to be more than that.
It was an introduction (for them) to small-town America at its finest. I didn’t expect to be so moved by it. Somewhere deep under my developing world-traveler/ex-pat self there is apparently a staunch patriot still dwelling. I am grateful for the veterans and the servicemen and the sacrifice they’ve made for our nation. But I think it was the whole scene that got me. There were waving flags and bunting and crowds of distinctly American people. It was all fire engines and girl scouts and old Fords and little leaguers.
We live in a place where the adjective “American” is not a compliment and nearly everyone seems very critical of and ignorant about the United States. One gets used to hearing it and learns to laugh it off. But it felt so good to be back and stand there as a part of my people at their colorful summer best and celebrate together our great country and those among us who have served it.
My dear sister-in-law and I went shopping afterwards. “We could drive the other way,” she said, “but we might hit parades in three more towns.” They’re happening all over America.