As the children prepare themselves with painted faces and lots of beads for the parade, led by the worlds tallest Uncle Sam, the adults are treated not only to patriotic music by a real live orchestra, but also renderings by Cole Porter, George M. Cohan and a wide array of old time familiar music. I love that the kids are being introduced to some of the oldies but goodies.
After the parade is the "meat" of the program. The posting of colors, this year by an honor guard of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).. After the introduction of the dignitaries on the dais and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and singing (yes - the crowd knows the words) of the National Anthem, the entire Declaration of Independence is read. This year, by Jim Darby, president of AVER. He did a great job - it is not an easy piece to read with the elaborate language of the day in 1776.
There are many teary eyes as this part of the program is in progress, mine included. We really do owe a debt to our U.S. Servicemen and Women. It is they who preserve our right to gather and express ourselves freely. Thank you.
As in the old days, an elected official is asked to deliver a keynote oration. This year's was ably presented by a relatively new U.S. Representative from Illinois, Mike Quigley. I must say I was impressed with his words, and also his humorous look into the U.S. House. I think he will serve his constituents well.
This experience is well worth the effort to get over there. Put it on your calendar for next year, you won't regret it.