There’s something grand about parades and I enjoy watching the bands of uniformed men march by.
We had just finished our lunch when we spotted some army trucks lumbering up the street. For the small town of Raritan , this was by far the most hectic activity I had noticed in the two weeks that I’ve been here. This small New Jersey town has many family homes but oddly the streets seem quite empty . At regular times I see the school bus and the church bells chime every hour but barring the construction activity in the plot behind, the town seems quite dead.
But that maybe because I come from Mumbai, the city that never sleeps.
Last Sunday when I wandered through the neighbourhood, I had seen banners announcing the John Basilone Memorial Parade which was to be held this Sunday at 1 in the afternoon .
So that’s what it was, I said to myself and stepped into the balcony for a better view. There was quite a crowd gathered at the street corner . Very soon the parade began with – motorcade of bikers and classic cars. Then followed the various bands, bagpipers, brass band, cheer leaders , floats and groups of different service men .
There was even a raucous parade of the fire engines and ambulances with sirens and horns blaring, lights flashing that would have tickled Wow Dinga no end.
So who is John Basilone?
Well, he was a local war hero and to quote Wikipedia:
John Basilone was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who received the nation’s highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for heroism during the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II.
What at amazed me was the enthusiasm of this small town and the pride with which they celebrated their local hero. This is in stark contrast to the way in which our own service men are treated despite sacrificing their lives for our freedom and sovereignty. Patriotism is given the go by and gratitude for the fallen martyrs even more so.
[Tweet “Isn’t it time we spare more time honouring our heroes rather than that brief moment each Republic Day?”]
I’m linking this up with #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne at EverydayGyaan