Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Independence Day in a Nutshell

One of the best things about having kids is that they give me an excuse to do things I might otherwise get sideways glances for doing on my own. Like hanging out in the children's section of the library. Or sitting and watching construction workers demolish and replace pavement. Or going to parades!

Yesterday was my favorite of all parades (that I've been to -- I still hope to attend the Drag Race one day): the Ann Arbor 4th of July Parade. Yes, it has the usual scout troups and police cars. But it also has such lively and though provoking entries as Veterans for Peace, the Ring of Steel Theatrical Combat Troupe (who swordfight on the back of a flatbed truck) and the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace (pictured below). Missing this year -- or perhaps they are just a sub-group within the Committee for Peace -- was the group protesting the School of the Americas. They always have grandmothers dressed as skeletons.

At any rate, the parade combines festiveness with leftie politics and free speech in exactly the right way to highlight the freedoms we have in the United States as well as our reponsibility to do something good with them.

My older son is getting a little too old for parades, though not too old for the candy that's thrown. My younger son had quite a thrill at it. He waved at every vehicle that went by, clapped for every animal and politician, and stood in awe of the fire and police departments' truck horns and sirens. Here they both are curbside sucking on the spoils of the parade.

Later in the day the boys organized an impromptu concert in the driveway. I was appointed "announcer/singer;" the little guy was "the audience;" my older son was "martial arts dancer" as well as event organizer. If you have not seen "My Country Tis of Thee" sung through an MSU megaphone to toddler flag waiving and seven-year-old performance art, you're really pretty culturally deprived.

That this concert took place in the rain only heightened the gravity of our mood. My older son took seriously the fact that his little brother was being less than diligent in keeping the flag dry and off the ground. "Do you know that you're supposed to get rid of a flag once it's dirty?" he asked me. "Our teacher read us a book on proper care of the American flag. And do you know how you're supposed to get rid of it?" I said I seemed to remember that burning it was the thing to do.

He said, "You're right. And that's why you always see people burning it on T.V."

Let freedom ring.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photo... the one on the left looks like such a bad-ass.


9:44 AM  
Blogger doulicia said...

He is. Just like his mother.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

What a wonderful photo. And I like your description of the parade better than mine. I wish I'd been there for the "concert."

4:24 PM  

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