Star-Spangled, Hometown Pride
What is the best part of where you live? Do you enjoy it and make time for it? Maybe it’s a physical feature - local lake, beach, ocean shore, or mountain range. Maybe your town has great architectural sites or monuments and museums. Maybe you are home of a fantastic festival, whether it’s large or small. How often do we make time to act like a tourist in our own town and enjoy the scenery, festivities, or culture?
I grew up in a suburb of Detroit - the kind of city that had no downtown district, was filled with strip malls, and blended into the next city pretty seamlessly. It didn’t have much that was unique, but it had a whopper of a Memorial Day Parade. I was surprised to discover as an adult that it was the second largest in Michigan! I participated many years in that parade, walking past miles of metal and plastic-webbing lawn chairs (if you’re a child of the 70s you know what I’m talking about). I didn’t think much at the time other than waving flags, getting candy, and later as a pre-teen, making it the entire route without dropping my baton. But I remember the smiling and flag-waving veterans and realized that it wasn’t often that we thanked those who protected my suburban childhood.
Now I live in a town that has a Coast Guard base and takes it role seriously as a celebrator of all things Coast Guard, complete with a two-week long festival. A few weeks out, homes around us have started installing signs, nautical signals, and Coast guard flags. Within a week, each morning we will start to hear the memorable sounds of the Coast Guard Pipe Band warming up just down the street and practicing the songs that will open the parade. Nothing says summer and Coast Guard to our family more than the sound of these bagpipes.
The day of the parade is one that we embrace. It's chaotic and crazy and usually hot, but full of wonderful memories. We enjoy coffee on the porch as bands us our front lawn as their staging area and we wait for friends to arrive before the road closes. We see neighbors, friends, and our kids former classmates as everyone walks through the neighborhoods this day, hangs out on porches and comes together as a community. I am so glad that my kids have been able to grow up in a town where they see thousands of people cheering and celebrating those who serve to protect our beach town way of life.
Let’s make time this summer to celebrate what is great about our towns - whether it’s a beautiful feature, a bit of history, or a fun tradition!