Friday, November 10, 2006

Veteran's Day Parade Pics

I have a few pics from this year's Veteran's Day Parade. It was a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for a parade. All the buildings on Fifth Ave. were adorned with flags, and the spectators, even 3 hrs into it, were 3-5 deep. Unfortunately, I was only able to get there towards the end, so I missed the returning troops. I did, however, have a nice conversation with a couple of spectators.

One, a woman who had been there form the start, told me the troops were warmly received. She mentioned that she was against the war, but was there to support the troops. The other, a 75 yo gentleman, was a Korean War veteran. He told us that when he returned home from the war he didn't experience any animosity from people, but that he was deeply troubled by what happened to returning Vietnam War soldiers. Both my interlocutors agreed that people need to differentiate between the soldiers and the policy.

When the Veterans Against War group passed by, the woman agreed with their "Bring Home the Troops" signs, while the veteran said he supports their right to free speech, but wasn't too keen on the "Impeach Bush" sign they displayed. [I actually managed to miss that sign.] Actually, after reading one of the fliers the group was handing out to other veterans--one of their goals was to "Abolish war and complete disarmament"--he wondered what could have happened to these guys to make them adopt such an extreme position.

When the LGBT group passed by, I mentioned that I thought it was quite silly and unproductive to dismiss perfectly able and qualified soldiers just because of their sexual orientation. Both the woman and the veteran agreed. He actually mentioned that "in my time" sexual orientation wasn't even an issue. An extreme form of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", from what I gathered from his stories.

When the marching bands went by, I couldn't help but reflect on what makes this country great. My theory is that marching bands play a big role. [In my defense, please keep in mind that I adore a good parade.] Young people, from all over the country, devoting countless hours to practice, traveling thousands of miles, and marching up and down avenues in all sorts of weather, just to bring a few fleeting moments of pleasure to perfect strangers.

And speaking of our great country and selfless marching bands, here's an intriguing incident I observed.

I noticed a marching band whose members where on the, shall we say, older side. They clearly weren't high school students, but they also didn't look like soldiers. I noticed they were marching under a "Falun Dong" banner [I thought it was Falun Gong?], and they all had "Falun Dong" on the back of their shirts. They had a traditional marching band, followed by a group of people doing exercises, interspersed with people carrying "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance" banners, followed by a traditional Chinese song/dance troupe (see last pic), and even a friendly dragon. My take on it: I had just witnessed a very skilled move. Put together a band, and march in a parade in order to rise your sect's visibility. [I did look for the Scientology band, but no luck.] Very interesting.

Wisconsin Marching Band


Ohio Marching Band

Ohio Marching Band

Marching Band

Marching Sect



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