The last parade

Here in my small town we celebrate the Fourth much the same as other small towns. People of all ages either watch from the sidewalks or march in groups down the middle of the street. Above is the local high school Latin club being watched from the sidelines by two unimpressed young girls. Latin? What’s that?

The bands played but they didn’t dawdle; they just kept moving.

I heard about the shooting in Highland Park moments before we walked down to see the parade. I’ve been to that town and it’s much the same as mine. Tree-lined, lights out by ten. Too far from the big city to worry about crime. But it seems no place is safe.

The baseball team showed off their uniforms
The belly dancer and Grandpa Goofball performed
Lots of dogs showed up; some even walked

Unlike other years, the parade lasted barely an hour and the mood was definitely not as festive. We didn’t walk over to the park and listen to the bands. We didn’t buy a beer from our sister city’s brewery. We came home where my husband watched Wimbledon and grumbled about the brutality of the games.

I watched a sad movie I’d seen before and cried.

27 thoughts on “The last parade

  1. While you were writing and posting this, I was putting up something similar. You were telling people who you were, while I was explaining why it never works. You’re town beginning to falter and it is so sad. When you stop and think about it, the 4th of July is really all about guns, that day so long ago. Watched a Dutch film called Hotell. Memorable and fitting for the times. Anyway, I enjoyed the photos of small town life you posted. I tried to imagine the way it used to be, when I was somewhat happy there, when we didn’t have to wear gloom like blackface from some paddle boat churning up the racist Mississippi, where the water was Confederate to the taste. Congratulate me. Out of country for 10 years and will never go back. Duke

    1. It makes me angry that this one event the whole town shows up for is in jeopardy. But I won’t blame the organizers for backing out. Any of those people in the pictures I took could have gotten easily taken out by someone with an automatic weapon on a rooftop.

  2. Thanks for sharing the pictures because I enjoyed them – even grandpa goofball !
    And not the same as other guests but at least it is a start to getting back to pre pandemic


    1. We had a parade last year that was much more joyful even though most people wore masks. The rea of parades is done as long as the right to bear arms is so misunderstood and misconstrued I doubt we’ll have a parade next year and I don’t think my town will be the only one.

  3. A thoughtful commemoration.
    I fear the tide has turned, the sea pulling back exposing the ugly wrecks of our failed republic.
    The seeds of division are now sown in the crack that divides us. What, I wonder, ever united us, we being so different? Two separate species now bicker and argue, straining all relationships to breaking. Is reconciliation really an option? Not in my lifetime, or what is left, I’m guessin’

  4. To echo what others have said: I’ll bet when the Amendments were originally written, no one had even an inkling of how #2 would become the future’s biggest problem. Well one of the biggest, anyway. July 4th has never been high on my list of favorite holidays, but this year, it hit rock bottom.
    On a brighter note, thank you, Jan, for reminding us all of the sweetness of smalltown parades. I also love your initial description, “People of all ages either watch from the sidewalks or march in groups down the middle of the street.” Also love the photo of the local Latin Club! Long live Latin Clubs!

    1. The Latin club guys were very bravely marching after the football team. This shooting hit home because I lived just south of Highland Park and it is a lot like my town.

      1. Kyrgios, the Australian-Greek one, was, as ever. We’re used to his mood swings. If would be unusual if it were any different. It’s a shame, though. Great potential used the wrong way.

  5. Sadly, this is the world in which we live. A joyous celebration of the birth of our nation turns into a massacre. My father fought for this country. My husband fought for this country. This is not the country they fought for.

    1. I’ve always felt incredibly sad after a mass shooting but now I’m angry. We shouldn’t have to cancel celebrations and live in fear so that everyone has easy access to killing machines – it’s lunacy.

  6. I was glad that our parade occurred before that shooting. I’m sure there was a mass shooting the day ours took place, there have been over 300 this year. Don’t look for a solution from Washington. I’m convinced that will never come. It’s sad to think that this is who we are, a nation where being brave means attending a parade.

  7. Hi Jan, was the reason for the short duration of the parade to do with the mass shootings or the general mood with all this judicial rulings that don’t seem at all popular? I am so sorry your tradition of a parade is in jeopardy, but I suppose things change all the time. South Africa is also riddled with crime and this sort of activity has disappeared while people congregate behind high walls in their homes instead.

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