The Best Veterans Day Parade · 17 November 2012

I know Veterans Day was last weekend, but I had to write about one of the best Veterans Day Parades.

Our middle son, Thing 2, marched in the 47th Auburn Veterans Day Parade this year. I heard it is one of the largest and oldest Veterans Day parades west of the Mississippi. (Apparently, the one in Albany, Oregon had its 61st annual parade this year and claims the same thing.) Regardless of whether it is the largest or oldest, it was one of the best parades I have ever attended.

I love parades. Especially ones with lots of marching bands. I like to listen to the bands play, but I love to hear and feel the cadence pounded out by the percussion sections as they march by. Part of that love is because parades take me back in time to when I was a kid living in Colorado. Our family would always go to the Fourth of July parade in Greeley to hear our cousins play in their high school marching band. There were many good bands in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade like there were all those years ago. And there were some great cadences that excited me like when I was a kid.

Even though I went to the Auburn Veterans Day parade to hear the bands (especially my son’s), I marveled at the respect accorded to the veterans who were in and who were watching the parade.

I have written a couple times about giving respect to veterans and active duty service men and women. But I was not prepared to see that sort of respect on such a large scale. Everybody was there to pay respect to the veterans.

If you go to the Auburn Veterans Day parade, be prepared to stand the whole time. There are flags flying with just about every procession of veteran and veteran support group. Many, if not most of the people watching, stood for those flags. I kept my hat off since I did not want to keep taking it off and putting it back on. Then sometime during the parade, I started placing my hand on my heart each time a flag passed. Just like we were instructed to do when we were in elementary school.

Part of the reason I put my hand on my heart was because I wanted to show as much respect for the flag and our country as the veterans in and around the parade. I watched as many veterans stood at attention and saluted the flag as it passed. Their devotion to our country made me tingle with patriotism and gave me more respect for those who serve and have served in the military.

The best part of the parade was that everybody who attended was genuinely grateful to the veterans in the parade, and the people in the parade were equally grateful to the veterans watching the parade. Nods, waves, salutes, and even handshakes were given to those watching the parade by those in the parade. More than one veteran marching in the parade left the procession to shake hands with another one who was attending.

I was glad Thing 2 was near the end of the parade so I could watch so many marching bands and witness the homage paid to the veterans in and around the parade. And as much as I wanted to shake the hands of all the veterans and active duty personnel, I was glad that there was such a great parade to thank them all for their service.

I know today is not Veterans Day, but I still thank God for all the veterans and active duty personnel for their service. And even though I went to a parade to see the marching bands, I am thankful that I got to be at one of the best Veterans Day parades ever.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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