Pardon the exaggeration but I’m guessing millions of newspaper columns have been written over the years about the sights and sounds of small town parades. Like some of you, I’ve had the pleasure of living in many cities, big and small, that take great pride in putting on parades and, in nearly every case, I’ve genuinely enjoyed the experience.
Of all the parades I’ve attended, Waxahachie does it best. Yes, there are fancier, more glamorous parades. Yes, there are parades that receive far more attention. And, for sure, most parades I know of aren’t interrupted by loud obnoxious trains. None, though, represent the authentic goodness of its community like Waxahachie. With folks lining the streets well in advance of the start of the parade, what I see and hear every time are the sights and sounds of a real America. No dopey protests about this or that, no taking a knee as a flag-adorned float passes by and certainly no complaints about the deep meaning of, in the case of Thursday’s parade, Independence Day.
Waxahachie is America. We love the flag and the opportunity to wear red, white and blue. More so, we love those who have sacrificed so much for the sake of the country. Countless times Thursday I heard men, women and even children thank veterans for their service in defending America. I watched as everyone stood to recognize several floats carrying men and women who were, and are, willing to journey to foreign lands to keep the country safe. I saw wrinkled faces protected from the sun by hats pronouncing the pride veterans have for the battles in which they risked their lives. In those vets, I saw the essence of America and what basic human goodness looks like. I listened as young band members played the kind of music that, just by sound alone, can produce involuntary chills.
Truth is, America needs towns like Waxahachie. For it is in places like Waxahachie that attending a parade is a priority. It is here where we know what it means to appreciate and care for fellow citizens. One look at the number of nonprofits will leave little doubt about that fact. In Waxahachie, we still treasure the value of community and the importance of decency. We care about God and church. We seek to provide quality education and activities that enable continued community growth. The vast majority of those who call Waxahachie home would rather use their time to contribute than to tear down and we care about community leadership. And, without question, we want all people here to be included.
The parade on Thursday reveals the nature of Waxahachie. It defines it, as well. No city or town is perfect but Waxahachie strives to be as good as it can at a time in America’s history when goodness is being squeezed from the public square. As big cities suffer moral declines, economic challenges and foundational fractures, our city continues to be just the opposite. Our economy is strong, we care about doing the right things right and the desire to reinvest in Waxahachie’s future is significant.
I’m grateful to call Waxahachie my home and am pretty certain you do, too. The parade on Thursday is but one sign of that yet it is a big sign. People didn’t line the streets to capture float loads of candy. We didn’t sweat under a hot Texas sun to simply pass time and we didn’t secure our customary spot to observe a bunch of wild theatrics and crazy scenes in motion. Instead, we took part because we love what Independence Day stands for and because we can’t get enough of the real essence of small town America. Next up will be the Homecoming parade and, of course, Christmas. While different in nature, the streets will be as crowded and the festivity of this special city will manifest once again.
Whether it’s about the freedom America embodies, the excitement of football games and reunions or the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth, there’s nothing like Waxahachie on parade.