Two 4th of July parades

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2010-07-04

Highland Park holds a parade every year, giving their parade a 'theme' name. Two years ago it was "Green is Good" and we, the Women for Peace, had a float in it. Last year's slogan was something non-descript -- and we didn't take part in it.

But this year I think the city fathers were reacting to our recent weekly antiwar vigils -- and they came up with their slogan of "Salute to the Troops." So we now thought it was important to show an alternative message of how we should really support the troops -- by bringing them home alive NOW, and taking care of them better when they get home.

So we mounted a great show: first, a friend's open-top car with a huge banner taped on each side with the words, "HONOR THE SOLDIER, NOT THE WAR" And a knot of people marching along behind with our Support the Troops: End the War signs, and music sounding.

Then (piece de resistance) we had five middle-aged guys, all Iraq or earlier war veterans, on big Harley motorcycles -- dressed to the 9s in full formal Medina Motor Corps uniforms (see image) -- which with their cop-style helmets and earphones and sleeve insignia looked very much like official Chicago or state police -- BUT they each had a large red and white sign taped to the front of their windshields that read: "STOP THE WARS." That was an eye-stopper. (Somewhat-porcine, older men in normally conservative police-type uniforms carrying an antiwar message? Must have freaked out a few.)

Well, we got loud applause all up and down the streets as we moved past, many thumbs-up and very obvious positive vibes. We also gave out 500 leaflets along the street sides. I'm hoping some pictures of us get into the Highland Park News.

Then we all went down to Evanston in a caravan to join in the (longer) Evanston parade too, same float, minus the Harleys. Got much applause there too. Clearly a lot of people approved our message!

We have to thank David Borris for his single-handedly putting together this project, plus contacting and bringing in the volunteer veterans with their Harleys, and also creating the excellent leaflet that was distributed to the parade watchers.

(The heat was fierce -- in the 90s the whole time. Lucky I had a wide hat.)