4th of July Parade Takes New Route

People in my neighborhood will be able to get to and from home without a detour during this year’s Gala 4th of July Parade. It starts at one and you can fill your tummy by buying hot dogs and other stuff at the First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake. Proceeds go to the teens, who just returned from a mission trip to Louisiana.

Instead of following the old railroad track to the Main Beach, the parade will make an acute right turn around my high school classmate Joanna Ladd’s home. Bet they have a lot of visitors Saturday.

No controversy this year about excluding the McHenry County Peace Group’s anti-war float.

It occurs to me that the First Amendment had not been passed on the day our Declaration of Independence was signed. No guarantee of Freedom of Speech on that first 4th of July.

Here’s some of what I saw last year:

As befits an Independence Day Parade, representations of the Statute of Liberty were in the parade.

They weren’t from the McHenry County Peace Group, however.

But the Peace Group were out at 11 o’clock when I was going to church after posting this article on their parked float.

It was banned by the Gala Committee.

There were four little girls with picket signs in front of the float on Dole Avenue at Pierson Street. I got this shot out of the car window, but they weren’t close enough to get them all and the light at Route 14 had just turned green, so I only got one chance.

The girl in the camera’s lens carried a sign that said,

We the People

A friend had a sign saying, “Draft,” with a big “X” through it.

I’m not sure the relevance, since there is no draft.

The committee apparently didn’t want spectators reminded of the number of American service men and woman who have been killed in Iraq.

Before the parade, I saw two women with McHenry County Peace Group tee shirts passing out leaflets informing spectators that they had been banned from the parade. Included was a quiz on Lady Liberty.

There was a Statue of Liberty woman on stilts.

She kindly posed for me so that I could get her crown outlined against the blue sky, rather than the trees under which I was hiding from the sun (having forgotten to bring sun tan lotion).

Another Statue of Liberty was marching in front of the “We Support Our Troops” sign, right beside Uncle Sam.

A man who appeared to be a reporter got in the shot, too.

Most surprising was the District 47 and 155 school bus decked out in a “Support the Troops” mode.

There was an MIA/POW flag attached to the back of the school bus.

One of the men insisted it wasn’t a political statement.

I asked if it were not, what was the point?

In any event, it surprised me to see the school districts seemingly in the middle of the controversy.

Now, I am sure that whoever put the entry together will point out that they were not taking a political stand, and that is certainly one interpretation.

They could point to the hall entryway to South Elementary School, which has a “support the troops” display as evidence that this is not outside the norm for at least Grade School District 47. I believe one or more of the teachers have sons in Iraq.

But, considering the banning of the Peace Group’s float, let me say that I found it, well, interesting.

The Sinful Saints Dixieland Band invoked God’s blessings for Sgt. Ashley Martinez, serving in Iraq. The band was playing atop Tom McDermott’s restored fire engine.

And, guess what I found behind another of the entries.

A guy with a peace tee shirt on, complete with Biblical citation. He was behind the FedEx Truck, accompanied by little girls wrapped in tape which indicated they would be delivered on Saturday.

I thought the parade was on Sunday, but with the 4th of July on Wednesday, I’m pretty mixed up myself as to what day is which.

After the parade finished passing the First United Methodist Church and I had another hot dog with mustard and a Diet Coke, I drove to Pierson Street to get a close-up of the McHenry County Peace Group’s parked Lady Liberty float.

I asked which was the sign that the Gala Parade Committee found so distasteful.

A man pointed toward the one that told the number of casualties.

You can see it at the bottom right of the float, below the Statue of Liberty, as well as in the close-up.

Members of the group had been holding up signs like “Bring Them Home” to the people in the parade.

Since so many participate in the parade, they must have reached a lot of people.

Nelson Borelli managed to keep a kite flying with a dove on it. I was never very good at flying kites, so was a bit envious.

The Peace Group’s Statue of Liberty float didn’t bring tears to my eyes the way some of the military units playing patriotic songs did earlier in the day, but if dissent is not a part of American culture, I don’t have any idea what the Revolutionary War was all about.

I got all sorts of good tee shirts at the relatively small gathering around the Peace Group’s float. These will show up periodically at McHenry County Blog’s ‘Message of the Day.”

As usual, all photographs can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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