I’m in a photo mood. Also, the issues readers have brought up require more thought than I can give them right now, since I SHOULD BE TRANSLATING. Which I will get back to, right after these pics. Blogging: the perfect procrastination.
I took these pictures in 1992. T and I weren’t married yet. We took a three-and-a-half-month trip around half of the US and Canada. We started in Texas. This was a Veterans’ Day parade in Kerrville. The quality of the photos is nothing great, but they do give an impression.
I found this both hilarious and sad. The parade consisted of the following vehicles, hundreds of yards apart, with very few people along the road. As you can tell, the vehicles have either old veterans or small children. Where are the rest of the adults? And the biggest, fanciest float is for Miss Kerrville, which is completely irrelevant.
In an attempt to liven things up, they had veterans whizzing around in go-carts and one clown on a teeny tiny car. Which was so ridiculous it was funny, but at the same time I felt painfully embarrassed for the veterans that their day was so pathetic and undignified. It was a parade that only a two-year-old would be impressed with . . . maybe.
I’m absolutely not a red-white-blue Go America and God Bless Our Troops person, but these old geezers were once handsome young men with their lives before them, and they went and fought wars that the country felt needed fighting. (And some did.) You’d think people could help them put on a better show. The whole thing seemed to be done by the few veterans themselves and their grandkids.
Where were all those actual red-white-blue Go America God Bless Our Troops people on that day?
It’s been my experience that Memorial Day parades and Veterans Day parades, and even other parades for various celebration days, are like anything else in life… civic interest rises and falls depending on the times and the moment. Sometimes it’s a matter of community choice, as a parade can disrupt services and in fact can be a civic budgetary issue in having extra police and municipal employees around. In one community I lived in everyone was decked out and in attendance for the Memorial Day Parade and the Veteran’s Day celebration might be limited to a few local organizations having memorials at cemeteries. After all, the two holidays have similar meaning. Maybe Kerrville, Texas, pulled out all the stops for a Memorial Day celebration since that day does bring in the Summer vacation season. But these kinds of celebrations do reflect the social and civic mood of the moment. In 1992 it was a whole other world compared to now. The majority of vets in those days were Vietnam era, and while the country had some collective guilt over the treatment of those fellows as that war ended, it was still a painful war to reflect upon. Yes, in 1992 we just finished Desert Storm (Gulf War v. 1.0) a year before and our military was victorious but we had so few casualties and many of the soldiers were still on active duty, hence not veterans yet; and there were few draped caskets. In 1992 there was no 9/11 to galvanize our patriotism… no Afghanistan or Iraq.. no World War on Terrorism… and in 1992 there were yet no draped caskets, maimed soldiers, and psychological victims as the price to be paid for such endeavors. You might try and check out this URL… http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.157815887594183.29594.144156725626766&type=3 Seems to be a few more folks present on Nov. 10, 2010 in Kerrville. One has to assume that in Europe, as the old folks die and memories fade over time, that not every WW2 liberation memorial celebration will bring in the same crowds as it did on VE Day +1 year.
Hi Doug, I just looked at the photos of Veterans’ Day in 2010 in Kerrville. Still looks like mostly little kids to me. As for people in the Netherlands not keeping Memorial Day as much anymore. Well, I’m sure the first Memorial Day, on May 4, 1946, was the biggest ever. Absolutely. But we still do it. And then I started thinking. World War Two was our last war. So maybe we tend to remember it better? It seemed that most of the old guys in my pictures would have been WWII veterans. You’re right: there had been other wars, more recent wars, more embarrassing wars since then.
So are wars subject to inflation? Too many and they’re no big deal anymore? The veterans of such an oldie as 1941-1945 aren’t worth our time? Sorry Mr, you may have charged the beach on D-Day, or fought in the Ardennes and maybe you are still creeped out about snow, or you dodged flack over the skies of Germany, but that’s soooo 1940’s. We’re into Bosnia now, and Iraq. If you want to honor you, go right ahead, but we’re busy elsewhere.
I still think it’s sad.
What do you translate?
Mostly fiction and the social sciences, like history, politics, and such.
I’m from ex Eastern soviet block, so parades there used to be a big thing, but I think they there enjoyed mostly by us kids. Parents somehow did not have suh an enthusiasm about it. So I think maybe parades are kids thing?
Maybe. And if your parents grew up in Soviet Russia, maybe they felt the parades were propaganda. But if only kids like them, maybe the whole Veterans’ Day Parade needs to be questioned, and a more dignified event thought up, that adults can also relate to. Of course, it would be hard for anything to beat a barbecue . . .
Yeah, definitely they thought that this is propaganda, and it was. Though as in case of propaganda, they never done it poorly. Oh they’ve been massive parades. No one would ashamed to be respected in that way. 🙂
And here I was trying not to sound sarcastic 🙂