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The Veterans Ruined My Mascara

The Freedom Festival Grand Parade is a long-standing tradition in my family. We gather up chairs, blankets, sunscreen, and enough drinks and snacks to keep even the most wriggly one entertained for a couple of hours.

True, I love a parade. The bands, the floats, the horses, even the politicians. But when the long string of military veterans rode by, I had no control. I sprung to my feet and cheered. Behind my sunglasses, the makeup was running down my face in a classic Tammy Faye Baker moment. And when the Pearl Harbor survivor was ferried down the route, I totally lost it.

My husband and I and a few other people sprinkled in the restless crowd stood out more than a bit with our enthusiasm. For most, the “entry” didn’t seem to mean much more than the Wasatch Bank balloon or the Provo High bulldog.

Not too many minutes later a massive throng of black and white approached. I looked up just as the 2,000 stripling missionaries assigned to the Provo, Utah Mission pressed down upon us. Immediately and spontaneously hundreds of people leapt to their feet, cheering, calling, and applauding with hands over their heads.

I love, love, love the missionaries. We feed them. We honk and wave. We send them letters. And I, too, cheered wildly for them.

But if we have the energy and the room in our hearts to honor those who give up two years of their lives to spread the gospel of Christ, could we not at least do the same for those who gave up their lives or were willing to to allow us the freedom to do so?

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Sharilee10 July 4, 2007, 6:14 pm

    Land of the free, because of the brave!

    Yes– the brave from the Revolutionary War (and even before that) down to our soldiers today— and there are many brave men and women who sacrifice and protect us here in our own country as well– but your point is well taken and I agree wholeheartedly that we should give every bit as much respect and applause to our veterans as to the missionaries and anyone else in the parade.

    As for mascara getting ruined– if I make it through a whole day without my mascara getting ruined it is truly a blessed day. Then again– maybe it was a rather boring day if I didn’t find something that brought me to tears. I am ‘one of those’ who cries over just about everything.

  • Sharilee10 July 4, 2007, 6:15 pm

    Hey . . . they are talking about the parade right now and the part they pointed out was the Veteran’s and interviewed people about how it made them feel. Go, Channel 2!

  • Lewis_Family July 4, 2007, 9:22 pm

    We stood the whole time, and seemed most around us did too… lol, I was too tired to get up for the missionaries, seriously, I had gotten up like 4 times already for flag presentations and then the armed forces and veterans, that there wasn’t strength to get up for the missionaries, sorry. We were on 880 north in the shade side 🙂 where were you at Alison that people didn’t stand?

  • mlinford July 4, 2007, 11:13 pm

    Nice post, Alison. Hooray for your support of our freedom fighters!

  • JustRandi July 5, 2007, 8:51 am

    I SO miss that Provo parade! I remember going to find seats while it was still dark in the morning. We have nothing like it in Denver at all. Great article Alison. And I agree, sometimes we forget the sacrifices that aren’t right under our noses. And that’s really sad.

  • agardner July 5, 2007, 11:28 am

    Nice post. The veterans always get me too. Especially the WWII vets that we are losing at such a rapid rate now. My grandfather was one, and he left us over 20 years ago. I miss him.

    My husband doesn’t like parades, so it’s either a) fight the battle to get him to go; b) go by myself and take the kids (yippee!); or c) find an alternate activity.

    For most of the last 4th’s I’ve chosen c. We’ve normally gone to our local community parades or festivals, and then grilled at home and of course we always make the 4th of July flag cake.

    Yesterday was much more subdued as it rained all day here in Southeastern Louisiana. We decided to catch Ratatouille instead. Then came home and did the grilling and watched fireworks on tv.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 5, 2007, 11:48 am

    I have one niece who’s in the military, one nephew (now serving a mission in Tahiti) who is in ROTC, and another who is enlisted. My father-in-law served in WWII briefly, but saw no action. Other than that, I don’t think I have any relatives who have served in anything except reserves (and were never called up). My dad was 4-F in WWII due to a heart murmur.

    Sometimes I see military families who are so patriotic, while the rest of us don’t really think about it. It’s not PERSONAL to us. But I think that those of us with no real personal stake in this (or any) war, should be the MOST supportive and appreciative of the sacrifices of others.

    Lewis, I am so very glad to hear that (that most people around you stood). These men and woman have done something that, honestly, I would NEVER volunteer to do. I owe my life to them.

    Thanks to all for contributing.

  • Melinda July 6, 2007, 10:34 am

    We were at a parade further north. The convertible with the banner announcing “Miss Utah” wasn’t carrying a beautiful woman in an evening gown. It was carrying a beautiful woman in a National Guard uniform carrying her tiara in one hand while she waved with the other hand. My husband told me our Miss Utah is an Iraqi vet.

    She got a standing ovation.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 6, 2007, 11:20 am

    Oh, that’s awesome. I had no idea!

  • Lewis_Family July 6, 2007, 3:20 pm

    I didn’t even see that, I was looking for her too since I had heard she was national guard, maybe I was changing a diaper or something… bummer, I heard she was way pretty.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 6, 2007, 3:37 pm

    Lewis, Melinda went to a different parade “further north.” Miss Utah snubbed Provo this year. 😉

  • Lewis_Family July 6, 2007, 3:44 pm

    Oh I see… too good for us huh… tsk tsk

  • mlinford July 6, 2007, 11:27 pm

    If you want to see a bit more about Miss Utah, go here.

  • heather July 7, 2007, 1:29 am

    I too loved this entry. I love going to the provo parade every year. And yes I understand the tearful moments when you see both the military personelle and the missionaries go by! You want to stand and almost “sustain” the beauty of thier missions! You want to show reverence but also scream from the mountain tops that we are lucky to have such hero’s in our midst!

    I’m an emotional person anyways. I cry even if I see Donny Osmond wave to me in the Parade. Tee hee hee. My mom use to tell me that when I was four, the Donny and Marie show would come to an end each week and I would cry all the way through the credits because I loved Donny Osmond so much! It must of had an effect on me because I even married someone that looks a lot like Donny Osmond:smile: But I’m way over him now.

  • agardner July 7, 2007, 8:57 am


    Are you over Donny Osmond or your husband?? ;-0

    I was a big fan too. I would practice kissing on Donny’s photo on his album. I also had the Marie microphone and record player and would sing Paper Roses all day.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 7, 2007, 9:53 am

    Hey, I was in a MOVIE with Marie Osmond, I’ll have you know! Now you can all cry whenever you come to the site!

  • east-of-eden July 7, 2007, 11:37 am

    We were playing “who knows a famous Mormon” at our family picnic on the 4th. My SIL and her husband have all these connections to a certian Mormon presidential candidate. Then I just blurted out, “Well, your brother used to Home Teach Donny Osmond Jr, and he met Donny Osmond! (so there!)” I’m a dorky-dork like that.

  • heather July 7, 2007, 11:44 am

    Oh I’m lovin this! agardner, I meant I was over Donny. I came to the realization one day that Donny and I would never be. Besides I couldn’t handle the purple stockings.

    Alison, that little girl could have been me! I was just like that with Donny, Michael Jackson (early years) and the Duke boys from Dukes of Hazzards. I always imagined Bo and Luke carrying me on their shoulders and walking me into my second grade classroom so all the kids could see how popular I was. I even dreamed they would beat up all the (cootie) boys that were mean to me.

    As for becoming famous, can I get your autograph so I can frame it. I wonder if you can send one cyberspace. I’ll place it next to my picture of Ricky Shroader

    Speaking of Ricky, He’s in my brothers ward in California!

  • heather July 7, 2007, 11:57 am


    I am just rolling! Is that like the seven degrees to Kevin Bacon? I think we should start a blog about this. I think we’d all laugh at who we really know by association.

  • east-of-eden July 7, 2007, 12:31 pm

    Ya, I can get to Kevin Bacon thru Donny Osmond and my husband. So I’m really a dorky-dork–I love those Osmonds!

    But what has any of this got to do with the orignal post…NOTHING! AHAHAHAHAAAaaaa!

    Alison, your experience was very touching. I do wonder however, were you one of those people lining U-Ave two days before the 4th? We drove thru Provo that day and were surpirsed by the ammount of people already staking out their spots. I just remember getting up on the 4th and going down to U-Ave when I lived at BYU and managing to see the parade just fine.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 7, 2007, 12:35 pm

    Stop. My family can’t figure out why I’m hooting in here and I’m SUPPOSED to be preparing the DI donation for delivery!

    No, eden, we just drive down, walk a ways, and find a spot in the shade at about 9:30 (toward the end). When we move to Lindon, we might go earlier. We’ll see.

  • Lewis_Family July 7, 2007, 2:48 pm

    My hubbys fam ward used to stake out a place, wish they still did, we had to walk and find a spot between families, but it was under a tree so we couldn’t complain and since none of our family showed up it was a perfect spot for three 🙂 Come next year if people are interested, we could stake out a whole mormon momma section.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 7, 2007, 6:14 pm

    Posted By: Lewis_FamilyCome next year if people are interested, we could stake out a whole mormon momma section.

    Oh, now you’re talking!!

  • Lewis_Family July 7, 2007, 8:41 pm

    It sounds good now, but realisticly, I will have a 2.5 and a 5 month old, glory I don’t even know if I will be going 🙂

  • heather July 7, 2007, 11:11 pm

    Hey, I’d do this in a heartbeat! I’d even bring some treats and name-tags

  • Alison Moore Smith July 8, 2007, 2:10 am

    You’re on heather!

  • mollymormon July 9, 2007, 8:42 pm

    We staked out a spot at the end of the parade route, and everyone stood and cheered for the veterans. Yeah, the missionaries too, but I thought the cheering was just as enthusiastic for the vets!

    My sister had Donny and Marie “barbie” dolls. Too cool.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 7, 2007, 9:52 am

    I’m just dying! Anyone else see the girl who bawled incessantly over Sanjaya? Heather, you don’t have a seven-year-old daughter, do you???

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