Of parades, flags, manners and babies
Appeal Staff Writer
OK, time for another of my occasional rants.I was taught something many years ago that I still follow, especially when I’m doing my other job; organizing Virginia City’s parades: The American flag goes first and when it passes, men should remove their hats and ladies should put their hands over their hearts. Men not wearing hats should also place their hands on their hearts.
I have known this for so long I can’t actually remember learning it, so I don’t know the history of the custom. But it is a sign of respect to the emblem of a nation where we can pursue life, liberty and happiness, something that is not readily available in many parts of the world.
This past weekend we had the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Virginia City, which is not one of our more serious or inspiring events, heck, we combine it with the Mountain Oyster Fry. But we still lead the parade with the American flag, and are honored to have it carried by members of the American Legion Post No. 56 of Carson City.
These men and women represent veterans of many wars, from World War II to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are proud to carry the Stars and Stripes, and proud of the nation that they fought to defend. They are a great color guard and work hard at their parade presentation.
So this past Saturday, as Post No. 56 went by with the red, white and blue flying faster than the snow, my hand went to my heart.
Across the street, up and down the block, stood several hundred people, most with their hats on and their hands at their sides or holding a beer (or whatever).
I was shocked and a bit irritated. I’m not questioning anyone’s patriotism, just their manners.
I am used to young people and children not having good flag manners, as it doesn’t seem to be taught or reinforced these days. But a lot of the folks at the parade were my age or older. I’m sure they knew how to be respectful to the flag.
I wonder what happens in China when citizens show disrespect to their flag. Or in Vietnam, or Cuba, or Saudi Arabia, or any other totalitarian state. Something tells me it’s probably more serious than a tsk, tsk in a newspaper column.
And what does it say to the men and women who have sacrificed a lot more for their country than having to take off their hat and put down their beer?
Please think about the freedom you have in the U.S., and next time you see veterans who fought for that freedom march by with the Stars and Stripes, show some respect. Take off your hat, put down your beer and place your hand on your heart. It sets a good example for the kids, and tells the vets you appreciate their efforts.
OK, rant over. Now for the winners in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
1st Ð Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band
2nd Ð Miriam Blanchette School of Irish Dance
1st Ð Giant Leprechauns of Fresno
2nd Ð American Legion Post #56
3rd Ð Virginia City Eagles Comstock Aerie #523
1st Ð Battle Born Early Ford V8 Club of America
2nd Ð Vintage Fords of Northern Nevada
3rd Ð Jack and Linda Gordon of Karson Kruzers
1st Ð Becky Johnson of Virginia City with Kairo
2nd Ð Larry McPherson of the Pony Express
3rd Ð Henry Jones with the Breakfast Club dogs
Winners will receive certificates and our undying respect for showing up despite the snowstorm.
This Saturday Virginia City has another parade, the Mad Hatter’s Easter Parade, at noon. (The Easter Bunny will carry the flag.) It’s a way for ladies to show off their Easter bonnets as was customary in the past. There are cash prizes for the biggest, best and most bodacious bonnets. Registration starts at 11 a.m. at the VC Jerky Co. 204 South C St., (near the Presbyterian church) starting at 11 a.m.
After the parade, the Great Virginia City Easter Egg Hunt will be at Miner’s Park at 1 p.m. Literally several thousand Easter eggs, plastic and real, will be hidden in the tiny park. Or try to be hidden.
Organizers were going to use the ballfield as well for the eggs, but the high school baseball team called dibs. So the park is all that’s left, meaning the eggs shouldn’t be hard to find. Kids might even trip over them.
Finders of the plastic eggs that have a store name in them can go back to that store and get a free prize. Call 847-4FUN for more information.
Piper’s Opera House was host to a benefit for Ryan Dorey, an as-yet unborn baby with a heart defect.
His parents, Cassie Athens and Scott Dorey, 21, work in Virginia City and like many young people, don’t have health insurance and face an uphill battle to meet the baby’s needs.
So Piper’s hosted a bake sale and music jam to raise funds for little Ryan.
Harry Callahan led the jam, performing with his daughter, Jennifer, who is unbelievable on the drums, and many of her fellow young musicians.
There was food of all kinds for sale, from beans and cornbread to deviled eggs, to all kinds of baked goods. I got the only Boston Creme Pie (it’s fabulous), but missed out on the brownies, which didn’t last the first hour.
Heather Beaupre, who organized the event, said about $2,500 was raised for the baby’s care.
“It had a life of its own, once we got the word out,” she said.
And Piper’s attendees weren’t the only ones who got the chance to help out. Bucket of Blood patrons, most of them tourists, in to see the Comstock Cowboys kicked in more than $150.
Many thanks to all for making the event a success.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-7351.