The Smallest Parade of the Decade

Fox Point, Wisconsin, population 6,698, is just 10 miles north of Milwaukee. The village’s Memorial Day parade used to be well attended, but attendance had dwindled to the point where locals weren’t even sure it existed anymore. (It didn’t).

But on Memorial Day 2013, a dozen determined Boy Scouts and their two troop leaders decided it was time to revive the village parade. There were no bands, no floats, no elected officials, no local beauty queens. It was just the 12 boys of Troop 391 and their leaders marching ¾ of a mile toward Lake Michigan in the steady drizzling rain. At the park, a quartet of young women sang the national anthem a Capella, and a retired Navy Captain said a few words, while several onlookers stood by.

Smallest Parade video MatchmakerThis humble display of patriotism was a touching way for this small group of young people to remember those who served. The parade is now being billed as the smallest Memorial Day parade of the decade. In contrast, the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. marks the largest of its kind, attracting an estimated 250,000 live spectators. It starts at 2 p.m. Monday, May 25. About 1.5 million people will watch it on television.

But considering that this year, in their worst seasons of ratings ever, American Idol drew about 11.2 million viewers per week and Dancing with the Stars captured 14 million viewers, 1.5 million is not a lot. After all, 37 million travelers will hit the road this weekend, and 70 million hot dogs will be eaten.

Before you relish your hot dog, I hope you’ll consider flying the US flag at half-staff until noon, participating in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm local time, or supporting your local parade, even if it is just a small troop of Boy Scouts trying to keep a worthy American tradition alive.

Memorial Day Cartoon

Remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this weekend,