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Patriotism evident at parade

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Column by Jim Clark

By Jim Clark

Some of the loudest cheers of the day at the Christmas parade on Silver Springs Boulevard last Saturday came when the military units went by.
That included the JROTC groups from West Port and Forest High schools, who marched in precision and received rousing cheers as they went by.
Patriotism is still very much in vogue in Marion County.
A lot of people put a lot of effort into this parade so that the thousands of people who lined the route could enjoy the marchers, bands and brightly-lit floats.
I was standing near the corner of 25th Avenue and the Boulevard. The parade formed on 25th near the county offices, then moved up to the main road and turned west. I thought I was well out of the way of the groups, but a bevy of police motorcycles driving in circles as they advanced came awfully close. I was proud, though, I only flinched once.
For some reason, a couple of bands marched way to the right, and unless they were avoided the remains from previous horses, I'm not sure why. It did put them far away from the folks on their left.
I can't imagine the effort that goes into planning this, getting permits, arranging for all the barricades and law enforcement personnel, etc. The crowd where I was appeared to be very well-behaved, although efforts by the “City Watch” officers to keep the crosswalk ramps clear were pretty much in vain. They did manage to keep access clear to the ambulance that was near, and at one point we saw a little child being carried toward the emergency vehicle. We hope the child was all right.
I still haven't figured out why it was so all-fired important to resurface 25th Avenue the week of the parade. Couldn't it wait a week? I didn't get down far enough to see how it was at the spot where the parade formed, but I know on Thursday there was still a lot of work to be done.
Of course, it was a little cool, but not nearly as bad as it had been earlier in the week or as it was going to get this week. People were bundled up, and some started to leave after an hour, not waiting around for Santa at the end, but it was still an enjoyable evening for most.
If you missed the parade, there are still chances to catch it on the Marion Educational Channel. It will be on at 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays throughout December. It's on various cable systems in the area, and over the air on digital channel 7.1.

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.