Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Keeping Things in Perspective on Memorial Day

Photos by Evan Brandt
The Pottstown Memorial Day Parade began as it should, with veterans groups and representatives of the local ROTC.

Yes there were no Clydesdales.

At least, not out in the open.

The much-anticipated appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales was a muted success Monday when cold wet weather persuaded their handlers to keep them out of the elements.

Don't blink, you might
miss them!
So instead, a truck carrying the Budweiser Clydesdales went by with the doors open, and if you looked sharply, or were lucky enough to be near one of their stops, you could get a peek inside.

But the weather is the weather and rather than flood Sound Off with complaints about how things turned out, I hope people will understand that for the owners, these horses and the equipment that accompanies their visits, is worth hundreds and thousands of dollars and not to be risked lightly.

In other words, it rained and we should grow up and get over it.

Let's remember why we were there folks.
Yeah, and then I woke up.

Hello Sound-Off.

But if I might, would it not be better to consider what this day is truly meant to commemorate?

It's about remembering those who died in service to their country.  That's the thing to focus on here.

And let's face it, the fact that it was announced the Clydesdales would be in the parade was a big draw (and thanks to Chip Smale and Marcia Levengood for making it happen, even if it didn't happen as we all might have liked.)

Pottstown High School Marching Band
The Clydesdales brought people out in droves, perhaps reminding us that they should come out in such numbers every year, even for just an hour.

I would think that those who died in service to their country deserve at least that much consideration -- particularly from a crowd of people at a Memorial Day Parade.

And it is more than a parade. Ceremonies take place at cemeteries and war memorials all over the country on this day.

The ceremony at Memorial Park was, as always, solemn and respectful.

No idea what's
going on here ...
And honestly,  I think that if more people attended that ceremony, they might realize the fact that the Clydesdales could not be out in the open pulling their wagon is of less consequence than the reason they had come to Pottstown in the first place.

Also consider what the parade represents in terms of community; how many different groups come together to ensure that commemoration and memorial is worthy of the sacrifice we are all bidden to remember on this day.

The are veterans groups, school bands, a dizzying array of fire trucks, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, twirlers, even the strange and unexpected (not really sure why I saw llamas -- or alpacas -- in the parade but everyone's welcome).

When Pottstown stages a parade like this, it is literally putting itself on display, showing off just some of the many things happen here all the time -- usually while we're complaining in Sound Off -- that don't happen in other places.

Sanatoga Fire Company's Crooked Hill Ridge Runners, 
arguably, had  the best view of the parade.
These things happen because people, most often volunteers, are quietly giving of their time and expertise to try to make their community better, or safer, or more aware, rather than stomping their feet while sitting on their sofa complaining about why things can't be better.

We should respect and celebrate that and perhaps ask ourselves:  "Is there something I could be doing to help out? To make Pottstown a better place to live?"
Photo by Karen Maxfield
Take for example, the regalia worn by Ben Hayes,
director of the Pottsgrove Middle School Marching Band,
and, apparently, a fashion-forward patriot. He's all in.

I have come to love the parades here in town, if only for that reason, that it puts our best face forward; it's Pottstown in display.

And when it's for the Memorial Day Parade, that effort could not be undertaken for a better cause that I can think of.

Here are the Tweets from the parade.

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