Some have stated that there is the feeling among many that the St. Patrick’s Day/Evacuation Day parade is losing steam, as far as crowd interest is concerned. But, social media would indicate otherwise.
The South Boston Allied War Veteran’s Council has a website (southbostonparade.org) and has posted the route for this year’s procession. We put it up on the South Boston Today Facebook site late Monday Night and within a few hours it had more than 14,000 views, just on our site alone. A short time later it surpassed 18,000 views mark and still climbing as this column was being written.
Clearly, there are massive numbers of folks, who plan to come into South Boston to celebrate this year, and if the weather is good, the response indicates that a record size crowd is not out of the question. Now, if we can just get all these visitors to behave themselves, it should be a good day.
Remember, along with the parade itself, there are many other events that are part of the festivities. Sporting events, artistic attractions and of course the military and the religious traditions that round out this season every year. There should be something for everyone and the volunteers who work so hard putting it all together deserve very special praise.
Speaking of crowd sizes, few days can equal the influx, some called it a controlled stampede, that poured onto Castle Island last week for the opening day at Sullivan’s (affectionately known as Sully’s to the locals).
We haven’t got the final estimate yet, but by most accounts the crowd numbered well into the tens of thousands. Photos and video views were shown all over the country; including film footage from helicopters. Asked one out of state Newscaster baffled by what she was reporting – “All this for a hotdog?” Well yes, they are Sully-Dogs.
Speaking of the news and reporting, I just can’t resist commenting on the results of the recent poll numbers out this week on the high popularity of our nation’s military and the shrinking credibility of the major news media in this country. Our armed forces have 96% of Americans with a favorable view of varying degrees, when it comes to our soldiers, sailors, marines and air force personnel (67% very favorable/29% somewhat favorable). And it just keeps climbing. The United States Supreme Court comes in second. The news media on the other hand comes in last, when compared with all the other American institutions.
The number of people who have faith in what the press reports has never been lower and is expected to keep falling. No surprise there.
In response to how a growing percentage of reporters have been conducting themselves at press conferences, town hall meetings and during regular broadcasts, prompted one political pundit to compare them to “a bowl of cereal mix, filled with fruit loops, nuts and flakes – the greatest show on earth, if you like the circus”.
Allow me to share a personal experience that really impressed me recently. While attending a high school basketball game between the small towns of Woodsville and Lisbon, New Hampshire, it was refreshing to see a beautiful display of patriotism and respect when our National Anthem was being played. The two opposing teams lined up at center court, all had basketballs in hand, as they had just finished warming up. The school gym spectator stands were filled with an enthusiastic large crowd of all ages. Though the gym was noisy to this point waiting for the game to start, once the Anthem began to play, complete silence fell over the building.
The crowd stood, the men and the boys removed their hats, as custom and tradition dictates. Many placed hands over their hearts. Veterans in the crowd holding salutes. The girls on the teams, the players themselves, on both squads were also standing perfectly still, almost at attention. Not a ball was bounced on the floor, not a sound was uttered from any member of either team, until the very last note of the National Anthem had been played. Then, and only then, did the noise and movement resume and the balls begin to bounce. The honor and pride that was displayed and the respect shown for our county’s anthem and flag was a beautiful thing to behold.
We hear so many stories about disrespectful rioters burning Old Glory and some schools in places like California – especially certain colleges – doing all they can to discourage patriotism and pride in America. And it can be sad and depressing. But to witness the respect shown to our flag and our Anthem by these high schoolers at that game can restore our faith in the upcoming generation that reminded many of us who attended that night in the New Hampshire small town why we are so proud to be Americans. Well done to those young players, to the school’s faculty and to the parents of those kids, who have raised them so well.