I remember smoothing the wrinkles in my white gloves every Memorial Day as I put the finishing touches on my uniform. Through the years as a Brownie and then as a Girl Scout I dressed to participate in the annual Memorial Day parade. It began early in the morning with a special ceremony on one of the borough’s cemeteries. There with tiny flags flapping over Veteran graves we solemnly lined up in our respective groups to march through the streets. The Macungie Band performed patriotic numbers keeping everyone in step throughout the duration of the small spectacle. In truth it didn’t last long, in a small town that measures a mile long and wide depending on how one views the boundaries.
I’m certain many other soldiers have walked upon that hill on their way to catch the train to report to duty, or on the path to a happy homecoming. Footsteps of servicemen and women echoing up and down Main Street from many years of dedication and sacrifice by veterans of various wars.
As the parade wandered through the streets of Macungie, citizens would tag along at its end, making their way toward the final destination in the Memorial Park. Many years ago a farmer donated some fields to honor those who gave their lives so that he might live in a free country. Later a monument with an accompanying flagpole was erected to stand as a continual reminder that family members who grew up and lived in Macungie courageously died in service to the United States of America.
For those who wished to gather in the park, the parade morning always ended with a service in the band shell area.
Not until the last stanzas of hymns held aloft the thoughts and prayers of many, not until the last group of servicemen stood in a group to a round of respectful applause, not until the last sounds of taps rose hauntingly through the shady trees lining the picnic areas of the park, not until we turned and walked away from the time of remembering…
Only then, did I remove my white gloves and enjoy the freedom of running through a park on my way home.
Today I join with my fellow Americans and humbly salute all those who have and those who continue to serve the United States of America.