Veterans Day Parade Part 4

This is my final posting on the 2007 NYC Veterans Day Parade and I’m going to use it to cover some of the oddball stuff that happened during the parade.  Not all of it is particularly strange, but the stuff that is strange, is very strange indeed.

The parade was held on a Sunday.  It was cold, almost certainly the coldest day so far this Fall, although the wind was minimal and the sun did come out and warm it up later in the day.

The worst part of the parade is that it was so sparsely attended.  When I went to the Polish Day Parade, also held on a Sunday on 5th Avenue, it was jammed.  On the other hand, here’s a couple of pictures most of the way through the Veterans Day parade.

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You don’t have to take just these two pictures as evidence, look at pictures in the previous posts.

It was cold.  I’m sure that kept a lot of people away.  But I don’t think it was a good enough excuse.  The low points on this issue came when, three separate times before and during the parade, people came up and asked what was going on.  They didn’t even seem to remember what the day was.  I hope it was more or less a fluke, but I’m afraid of what I suspect is the truth…they didn’t care to remember it and their lack was emblematic of a much larger problem of know-nothingness and apathy.

People, freedom isn’t free.  It was bought by our veterans and their families at a tremendous price.

Before I get into the weirdness, at least one more happy point in the parade.  I mentioned previously that there were a lot of high school JROTC people.  There certainly was.  Good for them and their willingness to prepare for the possibility of an interesting and perhaps dangerous life ahead.  But there was another group I just want to note, too.  The Scouts.  Not a big contingent, but enough.  Both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.

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Now, to the weirdness.

I don’t think this group of “royalty” were veterans.  If you’ve read my earlier posts you know I love beauty queens.  Usually, there’s a point to it.  These seemed to be attractive young ladies with crowns who wanted to ride in vintage cars.  At least they could have had a sign thanking the vets or a sign stating their affiliation or organization.  But there was no sign as to what they were doing.  I couldn’t read their sashes.

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They braved the cold, but I’ve no idea who they are or why they were in the parade.

Another weird one was a group of vets.  It was a group of homosexual veterans who carved out a place in the parade.  They mostly consisten of a marching band that played pretty well.  Was the fact that they are homosexual a reason they were “weird”?  Nope (hey, this is NYC so what do you expect).  The fact that they had two ballet dancers leading the group performing a sequence of ballet dance moves was.  The point of the dance?  I can’t figure out any semblance of meaning from the display other than to announce their presence and look strange enough to prompt discussion.  Sorry, but no picture.

The third weird group were probably not veterans.  In fact, they were doubtless the weirdest group to ever march in a Veterans Day Parade that you could imagine.  Well, maybe not.  But you’d be hardpressed to find one less veteran-like.  It was the Falan Gong.  Or, as they put it in their signs:  the Falan Dafa.  They are a Buddist group that has been outlawed by the Chinese government.  Their lack of military affiliation is total.

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I’m utterly incapable of saying why a dragon dance has any relevance to Veterans Day.  Maybe it’s relevant to anything.  They did it well, though.

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This group was actually the end of the parade.  Maybe they just hung around 26th Street and jumped in and pretended to be part of the parade?  I’m sure they were authorized, but why?

The last group I’ll mention is one that I couldn’t believe appeared.  The Falan Gong and the beauty queens would seem to be completely extraneous to Veterans Day especially because they made no reference to the day itself.  But the final “weird” group did have veterans.  Or, more precisely, they represented a group of well-known veterans. (I don’t think any of the old timers were marching.)

It was the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  It amazes me that the memory of them is nearly gone.  It pleases me immensely that no one seems to know who they were.

I was so shocked that I took no pictures.  I regret it, but not too much.

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was a group of Americans who went to Spain right before WWII to fight on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War.  It’s amazing in these days to think of leftists fighting with Republicans (not that the “Republicans” of that Civil War were related to the modern day American Republican Party, but it’s amusing to think of it in that fashion).

Personally, I don’t care what any revisionist may say:  my view is that these were a group of Stalinists and fellow travelers who, when they were ordered to do so (at the signing of the Hitler-Stalin Non-Aggression Pact that divided Poland in half), supported the move with a single-mindedness that was Orwellian in scope.  Those that rejected Stalin when they realized what he and the American Communist Party were doing have at least some of my respect; but I don’t think this group that marched in the parade represent those.  They were protesting the Iraq War and they flashed their radical credentials proudly.

I’m not ending this series of posts with such a picture.

-H

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Explore posts in the same categories: Events, Manhattan, Mid-town, Parades

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