“I Love a Parade”

General_charles_de_gaulle_visite_isles_sur_suippe_1963

By Gnotype (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

On Bastille Day in 1965, I was a 13-year-old in Paris. On our way home from a year living in Thailand, my family was staying in the apartment of a college friend of my father’s (his family was staying in their “country house” an hour or so from the city).

My father’s friend arranged for us to be atop a building on the Champs Elysee for the big parade. My brothers and I were excited: the parades we’d seen at home (and in Thailand) had been festive affairs, full of color, bands and surprise. They were awesome affairs with balloons and floats and all manner of things.

This one, for the three of us, was a big bust.

There was none of the things we expected, none of the fun. We did get to see Charles de Gaulle, but all the rest was endless rows of tanks, missile carriers, troops, and I don’t know what else–all in the French version of olive drab.

I thought of that today as I read that Donald Trump wants himself a big parade of the sort de Gaulle led. OK, I thought, let him, and let Americans see how pompous and boring a military parade can be.

When it’s over, perhaps there can be a celebration on stage, a bit of solace for a disappointed population. Maybe Trump can get a contemporary version of Joey Heatherton (remember her? thought not) to perform while we all creep off to bed.

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