World War II veteran S. J. Hill Jr advocates an outright ban on politicians marching with exceptions made for politicians that are veterans, and Hill believes it should be a "somber day as flags are waved in the breeze and hands are placed across chests."
Michael Kohout believes that politicians should "find another venue to garner support," and he describes them as "shameless." Kohout said that he won't name names, but I think most people would agree that Michael Jackson was the biggest offender.
Pam Starling said that she will not attend another Bowie Memorial Day Parade, and she believes that Memorial Day should be about "remembering those who sacrificed and gave it all." Although it may not have been her intention, Starling appears to take a swipe at the kids in attendance.
Too bad the children in the crowd were more concerned with catching the candy and collecting stickers and "stuff" than being exposed to real "heroes."
Wow. Shame on my five-year-old for being interested in candy at a parade. I'll give Pam Starling the benefit of the doubt. She probably meant that it was the adults' fault for turning the parade into a candy grab.
Multiple Memorial Day events were held last weekend. The parade was held on Saturday, a free concert was held at Allen Pond Park on Sunday, and a ceremony was held at Veterans Memorial Park on Monday. The theme of all of the Memorial Day weekend events is to honor soldiers that paid the ultimate sacrifice, but each event honors the soldiers in different ways. Monday's event was certainly the more somber of the events, and the parade on Saturday was the most celebratory. Fallen soldiers can be honored through celebration, and that's what a Memorial Day parade should be about. The three events together achieved a good balance.
Limiting what groups can and can't be in the parade isn't the right solution. Politicians in general aren't very popular this year, so they are easy targets. The politicians also didn't help themselves by holding up the parade. But what about the classic cars? What does a 1966 Turbo Corvair have to do with honoring fallen soldiers? What about the the Greenbelt Sity Stars jump roping group? What about the Klotz Institute of Karate? Should we only allow people to march with red, white or blue belts?
Preference should be given to veterans groups, and limits may need to be put in place for the number of participants. Parades should be about inclusion of people and groups from the community - not exclusion. Politicians should be allowed to march or ride, and we can judge them on their performance.
The Bowie Memorial Day parade is a victim of its own success - made worse by an active election year. The parade is a fun and popular event, and this year's parade was the largest in recent memory. A large parade is not necessarily a bad thing, but the participants have to keep moving. Bowie officials should focus on how to keep the parade flowing. Meeting that challenge may require a lot more volunteers.
Politicians in general have low approval ratings in 2010, but we need to be engaging with elected officials - not shunning them. I'm pretty sure that the person who will be running the Prince George's County government for the next four years marched in the Bowie Memorial Day Parade last Saturday. Bowie is the largest city in the county, and residents should expect and demand that the officials running our county engage with citizens of Bowie. In fact, I'll be disappointed if the County Executive doesn't march in next year's parade.
It's too bad that some residents won't be attending the parade next year, but that does mean more candy for me.
See this week's Bowie Blade-News Readers' Views section by clicking here.