Today my son marched in his very first parade, our town's small Memorial Day parade. He marched with his Cub Scouts pack. I'd share a picture but our camera's batteries died right as my husband was about to snap the photo.
I had many thoughts racing through my head as we arrived at the landing area then watched the parade.
My first thought was this was way too small of a parade. The whole lineup was way too short. Our local military personnel were at the front of the line followed by three cars of VFWs. A troop of Girl Scouts was next, the local Boy Scouts, then the Cub Scouts. The local high school marching band ended the parade. It passed by us in about two minutes. It is too bad the parade was so "small." These people deserve so much more.
My husband and I discussed the fact this was the first time we ever attended the Memorial Day parade. This should be the parade we always attend to show support of our troops and those who fought for us in the past. My husband and I both have fathers who are veterans of World War II. We should know to say thank you and show support. I pledge to attend the parades from here on out.
As I looked at all our young military men and women in their uniforms, I kept uttering the mantra "I can support the troops but not the war" in my head. Over and over I repeated that thought.
Last week a local serviceman was killed in Iraq at a roadside bombing. There was a prayer and moment of silence for him at the flag ceremony following the parade. My heart ached for him, his family and friends.
Lastly, I cannot help but mention how many homeschoolers I saw. There weren't a lot of children at the parade or at the ceremony. Most of them were in scouts. Except for the homeschoolers. I was amazed at the turnout of homeschoolers.
I couldn't help but think about the differences between me and the other homeschoolers. I was there to support my country, the troops, all people who have served in the military, my ancestors who were veterans, and my son. I was not there to support a war. In the back of my mind I kept thinking about the homeschoolers I saw. Many are the type that have signed photos of President Bush displayed in their homes. Yes, I've seen the photos. They are the type that support the war. I am not.
It made me glad to live in a country where we can have differences of opinions, but sad, too. Even though I feel they're wrong, I support their freedom of choice. On the other hand, they are constantly belittling and condemning the liberals. Liberals are not patriotic. Liberals are flag burners. Liberals are evil. Yes, I have heard these comments from fellow homeschoolers. While I am not really a liberal, I am a moderate, I am a liberal in their eyes. I believe in freedom of choice. I just want to say that liberals are not evil, and that yes, liberals can be patriotic. Very patriotic.
Thank you to all our service people, past and present.