Published: July 3rd 2009July 3rd 2009
PLACING FLAGS ON ALVARADO ST.
A smart platoon flaged the entire parade route
Excerpted from my book OUR SUMMER IN CARMEL, Amazon.com
The Monterey Peninsula is comprised of several small towns woven seamlessly together all hugging the cool waters of Monterey Bay, witheach community having its own distinct character. In Carmel there was a gathering at Devendorf Park, the social center of the village, with live music. Pacific Grove, a small former Victorian village separated from Carmel by Carmel Hill, was having its own parade. Seaside, a very patriotic community that borders Ft. Ord with many retired military personnel in residence, had already rolled out their annual parade two days earlier on a Saturday. Another choice to celebrate on the actual holiday was provided by the City of Monterey. For Elysee and me, the Fourth of July is one holiday that should be celebrated on the Fourth. Not the day before or even two days before because it is more convenient.
After reading about our options in the local newspaper, none promised to compare with the small town Ol’ Fourth of July celebration being promoted by the City of Monterey. We went there early in the morning on the fourth and were not disappointed in our choice. Elysee and I took notice
COLORS PASSING IN REVIEW
A multi-service color guard.
of Monterey’s professional management of the day’s agenda, the family atmosphere that prevailed, and the small town patriotism spiced with California’s inevitable submission to diversity in the parade makeup. Talk about leaving “no one” behind! The only surprising absence was that there was no gay marching band. But we saw everything else, including middle-aged Middle East belly dancers parading in the red white and blue. I never quite understood their participation. As expected from a small town parade, children were plentifully represented both in the parade and along the curb. There were ample numbers of clowns to entertain them, many handing out both small flags and candy. Truly, it was an affair for young and old.
As befitting the occasion, the townspeople and visitors assembled along the main street of Monterey, Alvarado Street, and at the precise scheduled moment of 10 o’clock the festivities began. About a platoon sized unit of enlisted army personnel, singing and marching in cadence paraded down Alvarado Street, led by a master sergeant. Each soldier carried a medium sized United States flag mounted on a pole. The soldier positioned this flag in a designated slot alongside the curb, and then took the position of attention facing the flag. Once the entire halfmile street was decorated, well-positioned loudspeakers called the public to attention, and the national anthem was played. It was so well done, impressive, orderly, and precise in its timing, that it set just the right tone for the first parade element, the passing of the colors.