Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Don't Rain on my Parade!

Since moving to America 6 and a half years ago, the one thing I have noticed more than anything, the one thing that stands out above most, is the Patriotism. Americans LOVE being American, love everything ABOUT America, and all what it stands for. In almost every yard, you see an American Flag, you see yellow ribbons around trees, you see flags on bumper stickers, in windows, on t-shirts, on buildings. It truly is an amazing thing to see.

And nowhere do you feel the patriotism more than in a Memorial Day Parade. As you may know, I had to work in this years parade, doing traffic duty (and let me tell you, I have never felt more powerful!!!!!) Unfortunately, George didn't take any pictures (I know, you were all wanting to see the white gloves and the whistle - sorry!). I had one picture taken before I went to work, here:

Me in uniform

(just look at my shiny police badge!)

Anyway, the parade started at 12, and it was just awesome. We had the Chief of Police at the front, then the Fire Department, then the Veterans - the old guys who looked like they had lived through a few wars!, then the majorettes, then local businesses, then the high school band which was impressive!!!!,

Mentor High School Band

There were people dressed in Civil War gear, shooting guns, people dressed in all sorts of costumes, the armed forces were recognized, marching away. It was fantastic. Brilliant.

At this point I was almost crying! Can you imagine? I mean, here I am, a girl from Seacroft Leeds, in a small town in Ohio, taking part in the whole community parade. Brilliant. You hear about these things in the UK but you really don't think anything of them, but it truly is an awesome experience. The community all comes out, seated at the road side, waving flags, the people IN the parade throw candy to the little kids watching, everyone waves, and you just truly feel proud to be there. Proud to be an American, and proud to be living in a country where you have freedom of speech, freedom to go about your daily stuff, and just free. I think the last time a parade was held in England was the Queens Silver Jubilee back in '77 (I think!) where people closed off the streets and had parties etc., or was that back in the War and in the streets of London? I don't remember, small town parades aren't really the thing in England. Which I think is another reason why I love these things. I will NEVER tire of them. There is a really corny car commerical over here, and the slogan is "American, and Proud of it!" It really is true.*

Are you getting the feeling that I had a good time? Good. Coz I did.

So after the parade was over :( I went home, got changed and we went to visit my father-in-law for a Memorial Day Cookout. The weather was crappy over Cleveland:

Rain over Cleveland

but thankfully got better where we were heading!

My father-in-law, George's dad, Norman, is getting up there, he's almost 80, and the kids love him!

Dan and Norman Knapp

Despite the age gap, they relate. He tells them the corniest jokes EVER, tells them stories of when he was in the war, when he was growing up in West Virginia, about how he once got paid $2 per day at a Gas Station - PER DAY!, and they laugh like you can't imagine. We didn't speak to G's family for about 4 and a half years through a dispute (in which we were right), but then something happened for the good that changed everything, and now, we enjoy the relationship with his dad that we used to. Norman is starting to forget things, and NEVER understands anything I say, but he tells George I'm pretty so who cares? and he's almost 80 so what do you expect! His nickname used to be "Red" though there really isn't that much red hair left, if any!

His dad lives in a town called Canton in Ohio, and just look at these pictures. How Middle America is this? Brick lined streets, the flags I was telling you about etc.,

Brick road anyone?All American HouseFlag

(just click on those to make them bigger)

The weather picked up till it was almost too hot to sit outside:

There is a hole in Heaven where the sunlight comes out

Then we all went inside to eat. Burgers, hot dogs, brownies, pop. Typical outdoor fayre eaten indoors. (don't ask me!)

Before you knew it, it was time for us to come home. We met the mortgage guy on our way home and dropped off the downpayment for the new house (we get the keys today! Can I get a "Hey Yeah" from you all?) and came home, exhausted.

It was a great day from start to finish, and as I closed my eyes, I had the "God Bless America" tune lulling me to sleep..................

*Technically, I am not a citizen yet, but will be soon, and I WILL be throwing a party when that day comes and yes, there will be flags and marching bands.

For a full viewing of the pictures I took, check out this slideshow.

No comments: