When the boys were little, it was a day of marching as young Cub Scouts in the Memorial Day parade, through the calm streets of New Brighton to the cemetery just blocks from our home where a touching prayer service was held. For the first time, the day held real meaning for me as we took part in these events, and in our hearts, honored those who have sacrificed themselves all for us to enjoy the freedoms we do so today.
Memorial Day continues to hold meaning for our family as we continue to participate in our present city's Memorial Day events. A smaller parade perhaps, but the messages and service held in the city park are moving, thoughtful, reflective, and prayerful. Veterans stand at attention. Flags wave gently in the soft breeze. As we listen in the shade of the trees, my little ones snuggled safely in the laps of their Grandparents, I am struck with pride as the band strikes up for the 4th time this morning.....holding their heads high, every member at perfect attention, and with all the precision of a group of well trained soldiers. They play another beautiful tune, oozing with patriotism. Music so perfectly matched to the occasion. The morning sunshine dances across the brass bells. I wish I had a tissue, for the tears that appear to be welling up......
It is the Waconia Marching Band. Quite possibly the most well-respected marching band in the state. My oldest son Alex, has been a part of this fine organization for 4 years. This year, our second son, Michael has joined the regal ranks. And as always, the group is once again amazing.
After the service, the band files in line to take their first march down the street, playing the music revolving around the new season. As spectators and fans, it is our first glimpse at what our summer season will look like. At the beginning of each season, it seems as though to top the previous season's unparalleled success would be an impossibility. Yet year after year, the music changes, the theme entirely new, and the show goes through the roof. We simply can not help ourselves but to follow them from parade to parade, all over the state of Minnesota, cheering them on, and watching them bring such joy to onlookers all over. The multiple awards that our band brings home time and again are nice, but nothing compares to experiencing the show in a slightly different way each and every time they perform. Just can't quite explain it.....you've got to experience it to understand. Or maybe we are just crazy. Well, us, and a whole bunch of other parents and fans who follow these guys all over tarnation just as we do. I tell you, this marching band thing is a whole 'nother wonderful world. And we are hooked.
So, while I still appreciate Memorial Day for it's rightful reasons, I have a heightened excitement for it these days as well. It is the official start of Marching Band Stalking Season.....the BEST season in Minnesota!
(.......and the BBQ is pretty good, too!)