The band is loud and cheerful as it marches down Main Street. Lynda follows it, and her little brother, as the parade continues. She walks along side the honor guard as they turn down the narrow side street making their way past old houses turned into student apartments. It has been a long winter but the trees are finally green and blossoms of all sort send their petals through the bright, late May air and it seems like something out of a dream.
Her kids tag along behind her, one with a face in his game, the other texting her little fingers away, neither of them really appreciating what today is really for. They do not notice, but she does, as the band stops playing a block away from the old cemetery and all you can hear is the murmur of conversations and the calling of cadence. It seems no one is really paying attention, no one really remembers why, but Lynda does not let that get to her, too much.
Memories of doing this when she was a little younger than Evan, following her grandfather, thinking he looked so handsome and important in his old Army uniform. He would call out “left, right, left” and he seemed like the coolest thing in the world to her. He was right out of a movie, they all were, and she was so proud he was her grandpa. They would go to the cemetery, like today, and he would call out “fire” until they were done with their salute and Lynda and her cousins would hunt for the spent casings when everything was done. After he would sit her on his knee, all his grand children sitting around him, and tell them what it was all for.
She knows some of these folks in the crowd know. They understand, even though no one fires off a gun anymore, even blanks, because that might be upsetting. That does not bother her. It does not bother her that her children do not get to hunt for those casings smelling rich with cordite and purpose. She is not certain they wold. It does not bother her that most of these people will sigh impatiently waiting for it to be over before shuffling to their picnics. It does not bother her, but she wishes it were different.