Friday, July 13, 2007

4th of July Parade

For at least the 7th year in a row, yours truly showed his patriotic spirit by participating in the city of Annapolis 4th of July Parade. Three generations of like minded individuals formed the Annapolis Sons of the Signers, an organized and well respected social group (and by organized I mean we meet for happy hour every Friday and by well-respected I mean we pay our tab) that recently acquired a fleet of 4 fire trucks for parade and other purposes. 'Signers' refers to the 4 signers of the Declaration of Independence from Annapolis: William Paca, Charles Carroll, Thomas Stone, and Samuel Chase.

Having won the mayor's cup for the 14th consecutive year, I have ordained myself a parade expert, and thus have standing to review a letter written to the editor of The Capital concerning the monumental event.

(Note to readers: the mayor's cup is a fictional prize, conceived by A.S.S. 14 years ago, awarded to the best float or group in the parade. Predictably, we are 14-time grand champions.)

This letter appeared in The Capital on July 12:

Happy Fourth of July! Welcome to Annapolis and to our small-town parade!

Thank you!

In case you joined the parade halfway through, you still had time to see a fleet of Corvettes, five more politicians seeking election, another fleet of Corvettes, a caravan of Mini Coopers, and about a dozen conversion vans, some of which had "for sale" signs splayed across their windshields.

First, the actual meaning of 'splayed' has nothing to do with what you are talking about, so I am going to assume that either you erred or The Capital erred, and you really meant 'displayed'. Second, very astute observation my friend. The procession of Corvettes can actually be seen from space, and the only thing more boring than mini coopers and conversion vans is reading a transcript of the mayor's no-travel-by-aircraft philosophy. As for the politicians: slippery slope, slippery slope. I tend to agree that candidates should not be allowed, but elected officials should. That's part of the deal: democracy: they represent us: etc.

I forgot about the legion of Segways advertising their local business. What about the American Legion? I don't recall World War II being fought on the back of Segways.

Perhaps you could have used a more recent reference. Perhaps the War on Terror. Perhaps, indeed, any of the other wars fought since 1945. I have been reliably informed that, to date, no wars have been fought on the back of Segways.

The crowds lining the parade route would have stood and cheered for our women and men in uniform--both past and present. Instead we were left numb by the meager wave of a politician and the exhaust of late-model muscle car.

I am starting to think that you are just a curmudgeon and would not be a fun person to eat hard-shell crabs with. But then again, I am cranky from the exhaust of an early-model 1954 Mack Deisel Pumper Truck from the town of Orange, NJ.

The parade's failure to honor the real contributors to our society and to our freedom and safety--such as veterans and non elected public servants--is the real story here. Our Annapolis parade has become a car show and an election campaign activity rather than a celebration of those who struggled, and continue to struggle, for our independence and freedom.

I will agree with you here, on the main point of your letter. The parade is a bit of a calamity. Our group hangs banners of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, has a marching band that plays patriotic tunes, throws candy to children, and shows how many people of different backgrounds and circumstances all enjoy in the spirit of our country. We do not solicit anything and do not stand to gain (except in ego) from our participation in the parade. Many other groups, and individuals, just the opposite.

And the band played on--except that there were only two in the parade.
JOHN BURKE, Annapolis

The A.S.S. band held rehearsals and kept a tune the entire time. Looks like we will make a historic triumph next year with our 15th consecutive mayor's cup!