President Trump’s desire to stage a patriotic military parade in the nation’s capital as part of Washington’s 2019 Fourth of July celebration was met with derision and outright anger by members of the angst-ridden, guilt-placing, socialist-leaning Politically Correct Police (PCP).
This group, including ultra-left Democrats and a couple of liberal Republicans (who ought to know better), was aghast that the U.S. would roll out military hardware, march soldiers, wave flags and have jetfighter fly-overs to honor the day thirteen American colonies declared their freedom from tyranny.
Billed as a “Salute to America,” the event was well-received, despite the criticism of media pundits and paid political hacks who were “deeply troubled by the militaristic tone.” It succeeded because so many Americans are proud of our armed forces and honor the service men and women who guard our liberty with their lives.
Nothing new there, PCP. Move along and find something else that gives you heartburn.
In reality, many Baby Boomers grew up looking forward to patriotic parades that showcased our nation’s ability to defend itself and, when necessary, project military might overseas to support allies and confront threats.
My generation, produced by the men and women who proved their loyalty and courage in World War II, enjoy seeing patriotism on display several times a year. Military contingents were always a part of parades on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Even community Christmas parades wouldn’t have been complete without military participation.
I remember the excitement of people crowding both sides of the street when the Fourth of July parade kicked off. Spectators began to cheer when the rumble of heavy equipment heralded a line of Patton tanks, armored personnel carriers and jeeps trailering howitzers. Between the rolling stock marched squads of uniformed troops representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and state National Guard.Then came the red-white-and-blue beribboned floats carrying our local heroes: veterans of both world wars and the Korean Conflict. Those men, members of the VFW and American Legion, had received combat medals. They proudly stood at attention and waved.
The floats were followed by police and sheriff patrol cars and their respective uniformed marchers; horsemen of the sheriff’s mounted posse; five or six fire trucks with sirens blaring and firemen in their full-dress jackets and white hats, stepping out in precision formation; the high school ROTC rifle squad, twirling M1 Garand guns painted white with brass butt plates that twinkled in the sunlight; the Red Cross ambulances and heavy haulers (WW II deuce-and-a-half trucks with large red crosses painted on the doors) used during natural disasters); various boats for water rescue during times of flooding; floats built by the Daughters of the American Revolution on which actors portrayed 1776 writers of the Declaration of Independence; and a separate float for the Betsy Ross and our nation’s flags.
Added to this lineup were troops of scouts (separate for each gender), bicycle riders who’d decked out their rides in holiday colors and beauty queens riding in shiny convertibles. It was quite the patriotic procession, what with a half dozen marching bands interspersed in the parade.
The stirring music set the tone for viewers and participants alike. My father was among the marchers. He was a WW II combat veteran and a marching fireman, so I had two reasons to feel proud.
And it wasn’t only our community that celebrated in this manner. Across the state and nation, millions gathered to honor members of our armed services, past and present, who had dedicated themselves to the protection of their fellow Americans.
Was it militaristic? Yep. Did it send a strong message? You bet it did. Were there protesters or anti-parade demonstrations? Nope. This would have dishonored brave men and women. Not even the local Communist Party office (and there was one) would have dared to utter a negative word about the parade.
Whether you love President Trump or hate him, give credit where it’s due. One of the largest crowds in recent history packed the National Mall for the Salute to America. Of course, the PCP complainers wanted to dispute numbers.
Heaven forbid anything should happen to illustrate that much of America continues to be politically incorrect by their standards, especially in Appalachia and the South where patriotism, parades, flag-waving citizens and military aircraft thundering overhead are still appreciated on the Fourth of July.