The Last Fourth of July
of The Century
Okay, this was running
in my head as I watched the 4th of July Parade today (I know I know, it's only
July 3rd, but my town does it early....). Thanks to Graywulf for posting it for
me. Thanks to Iris Wilde for beta-ing for me. This is a tribute to all my friends
at Cascade Times.
Disclaimers: Not mine, I just play with them
for the enjoyment of others.
Sandburg bounced as he headed
for the loft door. "Come on, Jim. Hurry it up!"
taller man grimaced and groaned. "Sandburg! You're excitement is giving me
a headache. *Will* you settle down?"
uh, Big Guy! We're going to be late and Simon said if we're one minute late, he's
giving our spot away!"
the door open and bounced out of door. Ellison grabbed the door just before it
banged into the wall. He shook his head ruefully at the anxiousness of his roommate
and friend. He closed the door, locked it, and followed his friend, who was halfway
down the stairs. The smaller man couldn't even wait for the elevator to arrive.
talked nonstop on the way to the park. Fortunately for the Sentinel, it was only
a short drive to the park, so he let Blair ramble on. He half listened to his
friend tell several stories about memorable Fourth of July parades when Blair
had been younger. Judging by his comments, the younger man was still enamored
of parades by his comments.
Ellison found a parking spot nearby. Jim grabbed their folding camp chairs. They
quickly found their friends from Major Crimes and greeted Rafe, Brown, Simon,
Daryl, Megan, and Taggart.
Simon looked pointedly
at his watch, then at Sandburg. The police observer just shrugged and pointed
with his head at his roommate. "What's the matter, Jim? Not a fan of parades?"
set up their chairs and mumbled, "Not exactly, sir." He rubbed his ear
as an explanation for his captain. Simon nodded his understanding.
jumped in before Simon could get a word in edgewise. "Oh, man this is *so*
cool with everyone here! Just look at all the people! You could do a whole cultural
study just by people watching!" Blair started to warm up to lecture mode
but Henri interrupted him.
Megan. Blair's going to a lecture on the subcultures of Fourth of July Parades!"
she replied with an indulgent smile at Blair, "being the outsider here, and
having never been to one of these, I'd love to hear Blair's take on it!"
Blair gave Megan a mega-watt smile in return.
you know the history of the Fourth of July Parade, right?" The Australian
inspector nodded. "Okay. Good. "
rubbed his hands in anticipation for his "lecture".
than being celebrated for the obvious reasons, the Fourth of July has come to
symbolize the gathering of the clans. Families that have splintered across the
country gather, if not in person, at least spiritually, to celebrate the founding
of this country. It can also be celebrated as the founding of the family as a
whole. Everyone can celebrate this holiday, no matter what their ethnic/religious/racial
background, since it is based on the founding elements that make this country
He heard a few encouraging comments
from the rest of the Major Crimes officers and from people surrounding their little
group. Blair blushed when he realized he had garnered a larger audience than just
his friends. Megan encouraged him to continue. "What I find interesting is
that you may not know the people standing next to you, but the camaraderie felt
amongst the crowd, the pulling together to celebrate a common holiday, is great.
I mean, the energy given off by everyone is infectious. You just have to watch
the faces of the children to see their excitement. In turn, watch the parents
and grandparents of these kids get excited of their little ones' excitement and
the energy just builds. It's a time when everyone can forget their troubles and
just have fun! Friends who havent seen each other in a long time, perhaps,
get together, quickly renewing that friendship as they stand and watch the parade.
Kids get to see other kids they know from school or daycare. And the best part
of all is being able to see if you know someone that's actually in the parade
to cheer them on! And you feel special if you're recognized by someone in the
parade. Kinda validates your existence, if you know what I mean, if just for that
day. And the symbolism of the parade.
where but in America, do we have such recognizable symbols that mean so much?"
crowd around him nodded and he heard different examples of the symbolism.
where else can we really, really show our sense of patriotism, but on the Fourth
of July? It's the greatest reminder that we are one people, one nation. We may
forget our patriotism the other 364 days a year, but not on that 365th day known
as Fourth of July!"
Blair stopped to
draw in his breath and continue as he looked at each of his friends. He had been
the one to suggest that they all get together to celebrate the holiday and then
go back to the loft for a cookout.
celebration reminds me of tribal cultures where everyone is one big family unit.
Here at the parade, everyone watches out for the littlest children to make sure
they don't get hurt running after the candy.
is friendly, not in a hurry to get somewhere, because they are where they want
to be! It's one of the few times in a year where everyone gets together and is
that one family unit! And to think that this is the last celebration of the 20th
century! And that we've been doing it for 223 years without missing a year! That's
a pretty strong tradition...."
heard the sirens of the police cars that signaled the start of the parade. Blair
wound down his "lecture" and winked at Daryl.
man! That was great! I never thought about the Fourth of July like that before.
Thanks!" effused Daryl. Blair just bounced in return and pointed down the
street as he heard the first band playing a patriotic song. He whispered to Jim.
"Dial your hearing down, Big Guy, before the military guns go off."
nodded in return to acknowledge the advice.
the American flag was making it's way toward the group with the armed forces marching
proudly behind, everyone stood in respect. The former military men of their group
saluted while the nonmilitary people put their hand over their heart. Blair nudged
Megan and motioned what she should do.
mouthed a silent "thank you" to her friend and turned her attention
to the flag. Her breath caught for a moment as she saw the rapt attention of everyone
and noted how silent the crowd had become as the flag passed.
watched the crowd and realized just what Blair had been saying. She also watched
people salute as the flag continued to pass down the street.
was glad that Blair had suggested that they all get together to celebrate this
unique American holiday.