Posted by: sweeneyblog | July 31, 2011

A Sobering Reminder at the Old Settlers Parade

I drove out to Ferndale today to enjoy the Old Settler’s Parade. It is a yearly tradition filled with all sorts of fun games, booths and lots of tractors. This year was no different. I had casually planned on doing a humorous post, filled with notes on creepy mascots (here and here) and amusing pictures of children enjoying the fun. But my mind turned to more serious thoughts when this group marched by:

They walked in silence, without music or fanfare. Each person carried the image of a fallen soldier who had died in the last two wars.

  They marched on, forming a swath as long as a city block. Those that carried the signs were men and women, civilian and those that have served. It was a sobering reminder, that even as we play out our summer, as we grumble about the Autumn-like weather, or cross words over which candidate should be mayor or executive, there are our brothers and sisters thousands of miles away paying that final sacrifice. The man standing next to me, an lively old man named Rod with a beard like white cotton candy, offered up a slow steady clap of support that was taken up by the parade watchers, as the wall of white pictures stretch onward.

Rod muttered as the passed, “We should have brought them home years ago.” It is true. We have our men and women overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan for what? Certainly not rooting out Osama Bin Laden or finding non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction? I’m glad the Obama is slowly ramping down the Iraq war but we still are seeing our brothers and sisters return in caskets to Dover. It was a sobering reminder of the cost of war, and the brave Americans that pay that cost for us.



  1. Thank you for this story.

  2. We saw this group in the Blaine Fourth of July parade. I don’t know when I have had such a moving experience – similar to seeing the replica of the Viet Nam wall when it was here on tour. You are right; it does put things in perspective.

  3. At the Blaine parade, I was looking to see my friend Nick Madrazo who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. I asked if anyone had seen him, but they said they didn’t have enough people or signs to have a photo for everyone in Washington who was killed in action.

  4. Well done, Riley. Yes, very sobering. And yes, even though the military is occupied with getting every last toothpick out of Iraq by the end of the year, it is still a dangerous mission and people do still die in those convoys of trucks taking supplies back to Kuwait to ship out. It ain’t Fed Ex over there. Thank you for doing this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: