Small town America is still one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us, especially if you're mired down in a major metropolis with its traffic, congestion and, all too often, its rude, harried and hurried inhabitants. And when you can visit one of these cities and it coincides with a national holiday, that's when you really appreciate what rural America has to offer.
In my case, it was a was a pleasure trip to Mineola TX one Friday afternoon, a 90 mile drive from Dallas. While checking in, the motel clerk mentioned a Veterans Day parade the following morning, and I suddenly had a priority on what had been a "no-commitment" week-end.
So it was with Nikon in hand that I joined the locals to commemorate and recognize the sacrifices hundreds of thousands of American Veterans have made to preserve what this country is today. And what a glorious experience it was when the American Legion Color Guard kicked it all off, followed by the Mineola High School Marching Band, plus a variety of parade participants who only added to the down-home grandeur of this event. There was Miss Stars & Stripes astride her steed, accompanied by The Statue of Liberty, followed closely by an effervescent Uncle Sam tossing candy to the kids, and who could overlook the school children with their hand-painted patriotic posters?
But the highlight of this Saturday morning was the privilege to honor one of the vets to whom this whole celebration was designed to recognize: Parade Grand Marshall-- from The United States Marine Corps-- Private First Class James A. Krodel, who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima and fought on Guam more than a half century ago.
If this modest photo essay moves you to seek out a vet, shake his hand and say Thank You!, it will have served its purpose.
Semper Fi, Private Krodel!!!!!
And Thank YOU!