Observant parade-goers noticed an absence of flags from the recent June Dairy Parade. As master marshal of the event, word came to me about noon that the Coast Guard unit presenting the colors had received notice of an incident requiring their attention. They departed to respond.
We have had other first responders summoned mid-parade to the scene of an emergency, but during my tenure as a marshal (2002-present), I don’t recall the Coast Guard being called away. Their presence, and the presence of all first responders, in the parade is a welcome sight. Other entries often display national and state colors, but I agree that a set of those flags should appear every year at or near the beginning.
There has been more than one conversation about the correct order of the parade’s lineup, especially with respect to the opening entries. While there seem to be no hard-and-fast rules, the current policy puts a peace officer’s vehicle first; the parade’s opening banner second; and the colors of our nation and state third, with the rest of the parade to follow. A full explanation of the rationale behind this choice is beyond the scope of this letter, but all things considered, I believe the current opening lineup to be the proper one.
Improvements to this wonderful community event often originate as suggestions from the general public. I am always glad to receive input from anyone who has an idea intended to make the parade more enjoyable for participants and spectators.