Monday, September 13, 2004

Bellefonte had a welcome-home parade on the 11th for a local element of the 28th Infantry Division, the 442nd Support Company, which has returned from Iraq. It was a nice little rah-rah-rah moment on a somber day. They had the company sitting on a set of chairs taped to a tractor-trailer flatbed, facing outwards. There was only a couple dozen of the returning veterans, so the next flatbed had some older veterans from Vietnam, and then the rest of the parade was composed of local supporters - little leagues, politicians, majorettes, two bands, some guys on chopped Harleys, a literal clown car, and what looked like every piece of emergency equipment in the borough. There was State Sen. Jake Corman in the rumble seat of a classic convertible, and State Reps. Benninghoff (R) and Rogers (D) in less-flashy cars. There was a file of Civil War reenactors, led by a short man with a sword who I suspect was State Rep. Lynn Herman (R), although he had neglected to bring along a sign for advertising purposes, so I could be wrong.

The reenactors showed off for the crowd by firing off a round of blanks in front of my position on the parade route, than proceeded to march off, reloading as they went. Less impressive was the group of kids with horses, who had painted two white ponies in red and blue in a flag-pattern. I couldn’t imagine that the ponies appreciated that humiliation, and they were expressing that emotion or something similar by taking a dump on Allegeny Street every hundred yards or so. Aren’t they supposed to hold off feeding show horses the day before the show, to avoid that sort of display? Or, at least, fit them with dung-bags to keep the shit off the pavement?

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