Parading up and down Congress

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 is when the armistice ending the Great War was signed. My mother remembers that everyone ran out and banged pots and pans and that all the church bells rang in celebration. Armistice Day became Veterans’ Day in 1954 by an act of Congress. There will be a parade in Austin tomorrow that I will be so sorry to miss. It begins on the bridge at 9:00 am and sets off up Congress to the Capitol, where the traditional ceremony will take place at 11:00 am. Because this is a school holiday this year, perhaps there will be at least some school bands. In years past, the 49th Armored Division band from Camp Mabry has marched, but it may not be stationed at Mabry right now. This band is small but wonderful, because it plays nothing but traditional marches, and chiefly Sousa music. Tomorrow should be a beautiful day for a parade. Congress Avenue was designed for events like these, and I try never to miss one. That’s how this household has acquired so many little souvenir Lone Star and United States flags of various sizes. After tomorrow, the next great parade opportunities will be on November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, with the Aggie Band heads up Congress toward the Capitol at 9:30 in the morning, and on Saturday, November 27, when the Chuy’s parade to benefit Blue Santa starts on 11th Street on the south side of the Capitol grounds and heads down Congress at 11:00 am. Children and grown-ups step up and give toys at stops in the route. This parade usually brings the Hardin-Simmons Cowboy Band to town. You haven’t heard anything until you’ve heard this band play (and sing!), Hey! Baby. Austin truly was designed for parades, and these are just three of the modern-day events that contribute to this long tradition.

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