Memorial Day Memories
They have been parading in Ironton for 140 years, all the way back to the Reconstruction Era and the days of Andrew Johnson and U.S. Grant. Naturally then, almost a century and half later, you would expect they have it down pat!
On Monday, Irontonians and proud Americans by the tens of thousands jammed downtown Iron-town for a celebration of our great country’s war heroes and soldiers. When asked why I do the Ironton parade every year, I simply say it’s my way of thanking all who have served in the defense of our country, including my dad, Sergeant Francis Urbano Cavalier, who fought in the Pacific campaign in WWII at both Guadalcanal and Pelilieu with the First Marine Corp Division.
As has been my custom now for a decade, I arrived at the parade route early and began milling thru the crowd. Since renewing old acquaintances and making new friends is what parades are all about for me, I immediately went to work upon arriving.
Along the parade route, folks were shouting to me, "is it going to rain Tony"? I threw most off guard when i asked "do sprinkles count" since that was all we saw in Ironton, a sticky sprinkle amidst periods of hazy and hot sun.
The cutest kids I met on Monday had to be the dancers and tumblers at Yvonne De Kay’s School of Dance. These acrobatic young girls wowed folks along the parade route with their athletic and artistic talents. Yvonne told me of a special “Green” dance recital the kids are working on for June at the Paramount Arts Theatre in Ashland.
I admit I love bands and on Monday I spent time listening to several school ensembles. The gang from Green High caught my attention right off the bat. Cody Sloas is a percussionist who also is a center/linebacker on the football team. When asked how he juggles both extra-cirricular activities, Cody told me, “I play football on Friday’s and percussion on Saturday”. Cody wants to be a math teacher someday!
The Coal Grove Hornet Band of Pride was next. Under the direction of Tom Zerkle, these denizens of music from Dawson-Bryant high played a medley of patriotic songs that made one proud to be an American.
Coal Grove straight A student Patricia Mihm was among the admirers of the her school's band. "You have got to see them, they rock" she told me!
I am going to add to this blog after dinner with e-pictures of my new friends so check back for the visuals. One set of e-pix (assuming they send them to me) will be of the Rock Hill Redmen marching band. These guys and gals were sporting their new uniforms as they were to take off for a week in Florida right after the parade.