Yes, it is already June and the national holiday of Memorial Day has already occurred and is past. Yet the cause for that holiday is ever-present and remembering it with appreciation and gratitude is a powerful way of expressing gratitude and moving forward with wisdom. Last year I was in Europe at the time of this American holiday, so it was very special to me to be in Denver for it this year.
Thanks to some wonderful new friends who are WWII reenactors, I took part in the Denver Memorial Day parade on the Saturday before Memorial Day. Dressing in a dark army green pencil skirt, a vintage beige button down blouse, and dark little brown heels, I rode my bicycle in the parade as part of the reenactment group. Greg, my friend and advent expert on WWII reenactment and history, was the one who asked me to be a part of the occasion. He was completely outfitted in an original WWII army uniform, decked out with gear such as a water canteen, holster and helmet among several other props. Best of all, he was riding his amazingly preserved 1944 Swiss Army military bicycle that carries original bags and leather cases. The leather letter case that sits within the middle of the bike, is the real deal and worth more than the entire bike alone. All decked out and ready to time travel, we joined the reenactors, like Greg’s friend Oscar who personally has restored several army vehicles from the 1940’s and 1950’s era. His family rode in the back of the army truck which was driven by his son, while he and some friends drove the army jeep.
For me, the experience was even more special because we had the opportunity to meet Ron Konkel, one of the WWII Veterans from Colorado who we are still honored to have living in our beautiful state. He arrived at the parade in his original uniform, which still fits him to a ‘t’. His smile graced his face as he openly shared about some of his experiences and we talked about how much times have changed and what his life has been like for him. After all that he has seen and been through, he is full of gratitude for his service to his country, his fellow countrymen that served alongside him, and he possesses a peaceful demeanor that continues to show gratitude by commemorating what was sacrificed and fought for.
Ron Konkel was the only Veteran who walked in the parade this year! The only Veteran! And not only was he was the only one, but he also chose to walk the entire parade, rather than ride in the army jeep. I was, and still am, impressed by his fortitude and his character of honor. Greg and I were honored for the privilege to ride our bicycles alongside him, just as the rest of the reenactors were also honored to be in the parade accompanying this living memorial of all our country has been through and from where we have come.
While I was touched and grateful to see the grateful faces of all those who attended the parade, I hope that in years to come our city of Denver does far more to support and promote this special event that symbolizes Memorial Day. All over our country, parades have been used to bring together people in the community for the powerful expression of remembering and being thankful in a way that carries on. As the community of Denver, I feel convicted for myself that we need to do more to truly remember Memorial Day with our city parade. The turn out this year for those who attended the parade, was very little. Rather than see this appointed national holiday as a time for vacation and a day off of work, we can see it as what it has always been meant for – a day of remembrance and recognition.
Thank you to Mr. Ron Konkel for representing our Veterans, to the WWII reenactors, and to all those who attended the Denver Memorial Day Parade and who were part of making it possible. And thank you to the City of Denver, for starting even now to support and promote this parade for next year, and years to come, in an even bigger way and to improve on the place of priority that it has in our city. Most importantly, thank you to all of our Veterans and families of our Veterans who have served our country and to all those who are in service to our country now. We remember you…we appreciate and give thanks for you and your sacrifice and honor.
To enjoy more pictures, visit my album online: Memorial Day Parade in Denver