Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scenes from a parade

Icon without candles

Small town parade, this is,
with its homemade floats
and balloons and flags and
fire trucks and marching bands
and smiling politicians except
this one is led by a silent woman,
red-eyed and tear-stained,
grasping a $6.99 K-mart
picture frame to her chest,
an icon created by a land mine.

Parade soldiers

They turn the downturn corner,
not sure what to expect and
then surprised smiling
at cheering thousands riding
a sea of waving flags.


They weren’t welcomed home
as heroes, were they, some spat
upon but most ignored, avoided.
Today they ride their choppers
in their current uniforms,
black jackets, blue jeans,
black boots, sunglasses,
bandanas instead of helmets, and
we cheer, remembering now
what we forgot then.

The left leg

He walks an ungainly stride,
lopsided slightly but barely
noticeable, a left leg of silver
metal replacing the one
buried in desert sand.
But he walks.

On Saturday, my oldest son and I attended the parade in downtown St. Louis to welcome home the troops returning from Iraq. Veterans and families of veterans marched north from Busch Stadium on Broadway, turned west at the Old Courthouse (scene of the Dred Scott case) in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, and along Market Street to Union Station. A month ago, two local men dreamed up the idea of welcoming area troops home, and the idea of the parade was born. It lasted more than an hour. 

Related: Iraqi War Parade: St. Louis Hosts First End-of-War Celebration by Huffington Post.


Sheila said...

I'm glad you went to witness. And I'm glad you told us.

Louise Gallagher said...

Yes. Thank you for sharing this parade Glynn.

S. Etole said...

Like the different perspectives that you shared.

Anonymous said...

two men
had a dream