Memorial Day: what a great day! Citizens pulled out grills of every shape and size, stores were busy with celebratory sales, and beaches were filled with winter-white visitors. The brief parade highlighted the day, assuring every attendee of their patriotism.
Five well-spaced lines of an exuberant drill team followed the Grand Marshal, a politician of much note and reputation, in whom even the press found little to criticize.The band with its seven trumpets and eight drummers, its four flutes, three clarinets, and a handful of varied other sounds followed the swishing flags down Main Street. Next came a hay wagon of square dancers, the local gymnastics club cartwheeling to their hearts’ content, and the yearly float carrying the newly crowned city queen with her court waving in harmony.
The convertible with two Gold Star mothers that came next received a smattering of polite applause on this unseasonably warm May day. They weren’t as pretty as the queen and her court nor as exciting as the gymnasts, but they were included every year just the same. People lining the street began to shake out their blankets and stretch their legs, as just ahead of the fire truck, in the echoing cadence of the band, marched the veterans. The flag they carried high hung limp in the heat and stillness of the day.
But one stood still, watching what others left behind in their haste to find the best place at the park. He stood at attention, his chubby hand over his heart as he had been taught. And then? Oh yes. Then a sudden breeze lifted the drooping flag straight. It flew as it should, with honor and dignity. The veterans looked as one at the loyal little boy standing alone at his post on the curb. And the boy smiled.
Image: United States of America flag – commons.wikimedia.org