The San Francisco Giants have won the World Series.
I recognize this is not a typical lead for a person who writes a column under the heading of “Mommy Musings,” but it’s exciting.
There were many things about the postseason that were meaningful and special to my family. Whether you’re a fan of soccer, football, baseball, golf, music or theater, there is something wonderful about having a family gather to enjoy a common interest.
While I was not among the 1 million reported participants to fill the streets of downtown San Francisco on the day of the celebration parade, I was able to watch it.
Taking in a bit during my lunch hour and then watching from our Tivo later that night really reminded me of how much I love a parade. Like most kids the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the one I recall from my early years.
There’s just something about the gathering of people lining the streets to rejoice and enjoy a common interest. Social class, ethnicity and lifestyle make no difference when it comes to a parade. It truly is a wonderful all American celebration.
Admittedly, it is one of the many things that made this community so endearing to me when we first relocated here over nine years ago.
The Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo Parade of 2002 was my first Oakdale Parade, shortly followed by the Homecoming Parade and a few weeks later the Halloween Parade.
Our family has been fortunate enough to be both participants as well as spectators in both the Rodeo Parade and the Halloween Parade.
Last week as I watched the ticker tape of orange and black cascade on to the streets of San Francisco a thought crossed my mind, which I shared with my husband.
“Everyone loves a parade,” I said.
My husband, sweetly smiled at me, gave a little nod and returned his gaze to the television and the chaos of the parade.
As I stared at his profile, taking in the pride of his team winning the ultimate series, I suddenly felt a bit of sadness.
Thursday, November 11 marks Veterans Day. Each year (for the past three years) I seem to find something more disturbing about this holiday and how we observe it as a country and a community.
I must be honest, until my husband became a “civilian” I really did not give it a whole lot of thought. Sure, I have always done something special to thank him for his selflessness and service, but when it comes to the ‘big picture,’ I have not really been too dialed in.
Then … he retired. I will never forget his first Veterans Day, post retirement from the service — he had to work. Having a sense of humor about the irony of a veteran working on Veterans Day, he joked about it to his boss. His joke was something to the tune of it should be mandatory that veterans have the day as a paid day off as gratitude for their service. His boss did not find the humor in that, quickly responding that his grandfather had served in several wars and had worked every Veterans Day of his life since. Sadly, even as he stated this, his boss did not hear the irony of what he was saying.
Granted when a soldier is ‘in country,’ or ‘at sea’ a day - is a day - is a day. You work - a lot. It saddens me, however, that once these men and women have given their service we honor them with a holiday … but they may have to work it. Then I think of all the people who get the day off and what their contributions have been to our freedom to entitle them to such a luxury, as the veteran now working at Home Depot or Walmart rings them up or greets them on their paid day off.
But I digress, a bit.
That night as I watched the parade with my veteran, I wished our little town hosted a Veterans Day Parade. As I gave this deep thought, I recalled the challenges of our local VFW with its membership and manpower. Then it occurred to me, why would we call upon the veterans to host their own parade? That would be not only sad but pathetic.
So here’s my plea. This past week our city has seen a lot of changes in the way of elected officials, which are set to take office in the early part of 2011. If our city can join with a service club to host a Halloween Parade, why couldn’t they partner with a couple more to host a Veterans Day Parade?
Yes, I know, parades cost money, but somehow the Saddle Club has found a way to continue on with theirs successfully for years.
Our service clubs support our police officers, our firefighters, students and single women — but what do we do for our veterans? The very men and women who make it possible for us to walk the streets freely, submit Letters to the Editor and dress and say whatever we please, whenever we please.
Sure, many fly their flags, thank a veteran if they see them in uniform and the Lions Club faithfully lines F Street with American Flags (which I love and thank you Lions), but what else do we do?
Granted the men and women who served this country did not do it for a parade, many felt it was their duty. Matter of fact I am certain some are reading this and thinking, ‘what is she starting now?’
In life I have always felt we should do things not because we ‘have to,’ but because it is the right thing to do. So with that said, I challenge our community, as well as our city officials to think ahead to next year. In the tenth anniversary year of September 11th, perhaps it is time to bring back the once popular and ever appreciated Veterans Day Parade.
Until then, thank you veterans, for everything you have done for this country. If I could, I would stand your shift behind that register Thursday, no questions asked. I would bring you a hot cup of coffee or sweep your driveway to show my gratitude.
For now, I will keep to my tradition of reaching out to all I know who have served this country on that great day. Hopefully next year, as a community we can celebrate them together.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.