It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
I was driving to my sister’s house to spend the holiday doing stuff with her, and I had to take a detour around four blocks of my small town’s four block downtown section because they were having a parade. About 95% of the town residence (approx. 3,000 reside here) were in attendance, either marching or watching. When veterans or current military personel passed, they recieved a standing ovation. To the point where those watching spent a good deal of time on their feet over the course of the parade. (But, wait, you say, you said you detoured to get around, so how do you know? Well, this is always the case with parades here, and my neighbors inform me that it was the case yesterday.)
After picking up my sister, we headed out toward the mall of our choice. We passed another parade. This one was also about four blocks long. (My sister’s town is considerably larger than my small one.) The attendance was about 100 people watching and 100 marching, roughly 6% compared to my town. Compared to the population of her town (roughly 36,000), the difference in attendance for the parades is massive. On top of all that, the marching bands for the schools recieved more applause than the vets and current soldiers.
When we first moved away from her town three years ago, I worried that I was moving too far away from family and civilization in general. I do not worry about that anymore. I’m proud of the place I live now. The people are friendly, generous, and kind of old fashioned. They have values that are shared with everyone who passes through.