Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Well. That's not true. I totally expected the "American Heritage Girls", the Texas State Militia, and the Sons/Daughters of Confederates. Did I expect the slightly off color [to a yankee] announcers' jokes about the Civil War era bayonets and how Texas is "Open Carry"? Not quite. Nor did I really expect a troupe of Vietnamese bicyclists calling themselves the "Viet Riders", nor the Sikh community carrying posters outlining the tenets of their faith. The "Tex Annes" dance troupe? Sure. Unicyclists? Why not! 6 different area marching bands and associated alumni bands? Of course.
Being out of my usual environment for July 4th is always interesting. Different parts of the country express their pride for their country in different ways and participating in community events, such as Independence Day celebrations, is a quick way to get a feel for a community's outlook and beliefs.
[Edited to Add: It rained the morning of the parade, putting temperatures in the very enjoyable 70s.]
I spent two weeks in Arlington for work, a town that simultaneously calls itself The American Dream City and is also the country's largest city without public transportation. Its university has recently been designated an "R1" university (i.e., top tier research institution), and so the town's identity is acclimating to being an intellectual hub...while also forcing the university to allow closed carry of firearms. It's an interesting place at an interesting time.
Downtown Arlington and Abram Street are really starting to pick up with trendy restaurants, murals, and little islands of landscaping. It's so very close to being a quite nice town. A grocery store walking distance from campus and a spot of public transportation to DFW airport and the Arlington Highlands shopping center would go a very looooong way. I mean, they've got a Torchy's Tacos, it's cruel and unusual punishment to not have any means of getting there.