Of Reviewing Stands and Tiny Edco Trucks

LA MESA -- I was sitting directly across the street from the reviewing stand at the Flag Day Parade on Saturday.

It looked like a swell place to sit and watch the assorted parade marchers.  Horses and twirling children and rescued pugs, esteemed veterans and elected officials and beauty queens.  Fire trucks and Soap Box Derby boys.  Bands and librarians. Pure small town parade and the perfect place to watch it from.

I waited for the chairs to fill up on the Reviewing stand.  I was sitting with about 6 people, and I thought how neat it would be to sit up there and watch the parade go by from elevated chairs in the shade.  But the stand was never, ever filled: Most of the seats remained empty. 

While not normally keen on being critical of public officials or major donors or VIPs, I found the Reviewing Stand issue one worth commenting on because it made me kind of sad.  I think the whole point of the reviewing stand is to have people sit on it and wave to the paraders.  All of them.  It strikes me as kind of rude to watch some of the parade and not all the parade: if your child or grandfather or neighbor draws the second to last slot in the parade, why should they have to walk past an empty reviewing stand.  Don't they matter as much as the first half of the parade?

Now of course I've never sat up on that stand.  And I've not been invited to either. Also, I'm not an elected official, and maybe other things come up and you can't sit up there.  But I'm thinking it would be good to block out the morning of the parade and be there in support of all the time and money and costumes and spangles and candy that this parade is comprised of, this gift for the community.   So maybe it's not fun sitting up there and I don't know what I'm talking about. But I think if I were elected by the citizens of La Mesa, I think I would have been sitting there cheering the entries on.  

Maybe next year it might be better to omit the reviewing stand and let ordinary people put their chairs there, because from where I sat, all the ordinary parade goers didn't leave the parade until the Tiny Edco Truck drove by...


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Tags: Chris Shea, La Mesa Flag Day Parade, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, On La Mesa


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Comment by chris shea on June 4, 2013 at 6:44pm
Thanks Lisa!
I appreciate your thoughts very much.
Comment by Lisa Moore on June 4, 2013 at 5:46pm

Chris, that is what I thought the discussion was about in the beginning......an near empty reviewing stand at the flag parade, and is a reviewing stand necessary.  Somehow David went way off in another direction and politics came into it.  If you missed the entire content of his comment....then you do not stand alone....I also did.  My vote would be no reviewing stand for next year.....not necessary.  As Barry Jantz said....that leaves those who would normally be expected to be on the reviewing stand, free to participate and enjoy the parade and mingle with others.

Comment by chris shea on June 4, 2013 at 4:40pm
David, who says progressives claim to have towering world knowledge?
I just wanted to talk about the empty reviewing stand in my post.
Not politics. I'm just not jaded enough, and clearly not angry enough for this line of discussion you are introducing to my original topic.
Comment by David Stanley on June 4, 2013 at 3:30pm

Chris, defensively, you missed the entire content of my comment. Those attending the parade are the ones still harboring the "American" feeling. You, yourself, commented on absences. Those that attend and exhibit pride and respect represent the diminishing population. Ask anyone of that group NOT there anything about American Idol, Real Housewives or Oprah and you'll find instant experts. Ask the same group about current events and look at blank faces , apologists and evasive answers. That you proudly announce your "Progressivism" in response to my original comment speaks to exact issues I outlined I fear. As to "Apathy", perhaps some of the other commentors should check the definition then look about the county with honest eyes and not through the lenses of their own "Progressivism" and towering world knowledge. Burying one's head in the sand is what got us here in the first place. Political Correctness perpetuates the nation's problems. As to Pride and Respect of one's nation, how long did it take for the president to even suffer wearing an American flag pin on his lapel or actually covering his heart during the rendering of the National Anthem or a passing flag? These are the things I refer to in my comments not those who attend with pride and cheer a Marine Band and the passing colours.

Comment by Barry Jantz on June 4, 2013 at 3:09pm

My last comment: I have the pleasure of announcing the Lakeside Parade annually. A huge parade with hundreds of entries and significant community involvement. The parade is missing one thing ... a reviewing stand, yet no one is even the wiser. There'd be no one to sit at it; they're all in the parade or volunteering to put it together!

Comment by chris shea on June 4, 2013 at 2:47pm

No doubt the action is along the parade route.  I wouldn't ever want to sit up "on high" if I had to sit there without my friends and family.  That would be no fun whatsoever.  I think the guys giving free bottles of water made the best use of the location there at Palm and La Mesa Blvd.  Like an oasis of kindness and cool water.

Comment by Joy Elizabeth on June 4, 2013 at 2:30pm

Councilmember Ruth Sterling viewed the entire parade from the sidelines with family ... not from the stand above everyone else, but among the crowd where the fun & action is!

Comment by Lisa Moore on June 4, 2013 at 2:04pm

Chris, you hit it right on!  This is a city of La Mesa parade, not a national or state holiday.....so elected officials should definitely be on the reviewing stand until the Tiny Edco Truck passes.  If that is not an option for the majority of the city officials due to other commitments or being in the parade itself as Ms. Alessio was, then do not have a reviewing stand!  It looks worse with only some of them there than none of them there :-)   Maybe next year things will be different :-)  I personally think David's comments were completely out of place as to the meaning of Chris's comment about the reviewing stand.  This was a home town parade honoring Marines, civic groups, children's groups and of course the Flag of the USA! 

Comment by Barry Jantz on June 4, 2013 at 11:35am

David, I saw nothing in Chris' post about apathy related to the overall parade, just a question about the reviewing stand, as she notes in her comment, one aspect. As a fairly conservative Republican, I will say that not everything is about ideology or politics. Voting and issue apathy there may be, for a host of reasons, but ... Everyone Still Loves a Parade!

Comment by chris shea on June 4, 2013 at 11:21am

My comments were not meant to finger point as much as they were meant to shine a light on an aspect of the parade.  I did not feel even an ounce of apathy from the crowd.  Or the civic officials either.  I just wanted to point out that perhaps the reviewing stand was not really working.  And as Ms. Alessio and Mr. Jantz pointed out, sometimes the inability to sit up there is completely legitimate.  As such, maybe it would be better to rethink the concept?

As for Mr. Stanley's comment, if there was apathy in our Village that day I was unaware of it.  Additionally, I don't think filtering my remarks about the reviewing stand through a Democratic or Republican lens is necessary or particularly helpful.  I had a wonderful time!  As a proud progressive thinker and Democrat, I don't think my heart was any less swelled with pride at the Marines and all the flags and the veterans than was the heart of my Republican friends.  I don't think anyone at the parade could have found, or at least I did not find, nor was I expecting to, an example of dying Americanism.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

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