UK or UK? Huh?

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Howdy!

Yes… you are correct.  It is Tuesday, not Monday.

Just so you know, Memorial Day is not the reason for my not posting on Monday as per my usual.  I was not being a slug as some may think.  Frankly, I was not in the head space to do any writing and the nice thing about it is that I don’t feel bad.

Memorial Day was especially interesting this year.

This year Memorial Day was different for my wife and me because we had some guests in our home from Austria and the UK.

Side Note:  For my friends from the Bluegrass State, the UK which I was referring to is not the University of Kentucky.

Yes… there is a region of the world known as the UK, and no… you can’t sue them for copyright infringement on your beloved Wildcats.

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Our guests from the UK were a family of four and it was their first time to the US.  It was perfect timing for them to get a taste of true Americana.

It was a good day, and a day that made me proud to be an American.

Side Note: Forgive me but I will go into quite a bit of detail.  It may even take a couple of blogs.  But I want to give you an accurate sense of our Memorial Day tradition and how it was perceived by our visitors from abroad.

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Memorial Day 2011

In our little (I mean little) community we have the usual small town traditions surrounding Memorial Day.

First there is the parade – small,cute and American to the core.

My wife and I with our visitors walked a couple of blocks from our home to the parade route and arrived 5 minutes before it started.  We were much too early.

At first I was somewhat concerned because we were by ourselves and I began to question the parade route and schedule.  But all of a sudden there were families (with their dogs) emerging from the homes and side streets… like ants showing up out of nowhere, they were on a slow and methodical mission.

Quickly there were people lining the streets talking, laughing and greeting neighbors.

Then it happens.  The village police car heads the procession with lights flashing and the occasional blast of siren to announce the approach.  For what ever reason, this siren blast is different.  The siren blast sounds friendly, inviting and happy.

At the first sight and sound of the police car the small children get their first shot of adrenalin.  What was a casual air of friendly laidback chit chat with neighbors now is magically transformed.

A sweet intensity sweeps the streets.  The kids begin to move and bounce with excitement.

The children and adults in mass begin inching to the edge of the street and leaning over.  Like bobbing for apples the bodies from the waist up, rise and lower with heads turned toward the sound to get a glimpse of the police car leading the procession.

This is the beginning of the ten minute parade.  The police car slowly passes and the officers throw candy to the kids.

The lead car is immediately followed by a sundry of parade participants.  Anyone can be in the parade if they wish.  But then you have the usual marchers such as the Boy and Girl Scout troops walking with their troop, pack, tribe or cluster, all waving and throwing candy.

There are usually a few old cars with grandparents who want their grandchildren in the parade.  But one convertible is always reserved to carry the Memorial Day essay winner from the middle school.

Of course the parade would not be complete without our wonderful small marching band made up of people of all ages from the community.  They pass by (somewhat in step) playing the anthem of one of the branches of the military.  This year it happened to be the Navy anthem, Anchors Away.

The parade concludes with a couple of fire trucks and more candy tossed helter skelter to the kids both young and old.

As the small parade winds through the streets on its appointed route, it collects people as it goes like a Pied Piper.

As the parade passes, the spectators naturally fold in behind the entourage for a casual procession for a couple of blocks before we are spilled out on the village green for a short memorial ceremony.

During the parade our guests from the UK and Austria are all eyes and ears.  They are taking pictures like tourists… oh… they are tourists.  They were snapping pictures of everything that we take for granted.

But now that we are on the green, how would they respond to a memorial ceremony honoring those in the US military who lost their lives?

See you Thursday… seriously… Thursday.

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