These are just a few of the many (many) photos that I took today at the annual Veterans' Day parade. As much as the armed forces are a presence on this island, this is the only Veterans' Day parade on the island. We sat curbside and waved as the parade made its way past us. I confess that I was glad to have my camera and dark glasses to hide behind at one point. I got choked up, and my lower lip began doing that quivery thing, which meant that tears were imminent. I was afraid that someone would ask me what was wrong. I would have no idea what to say.
In truth, I don't even know why I reacted that way. All I know is what set it off -- the sight of those in uniform, marching proudly, and the recognition that there are usually many more troops present at this parade. The representation from the various branches of service was low this year, due to deployments, I assume. The presence of veterans was strong, but I think it was an absence, not a presence, that got to me. I couldn't help but think of my grandpa, who could not listen to "Taps" without tearing up. He couldn't explain why, but we all knew that it had something to do with a history that he could not put into words. In so many ways, this parade was emblematic of a past, a present, and a future, and my heart swelled as I considered my own place in that narrative.