SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF – RICH PASCHALL

Your True Colors, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

Like most people, you might join in a celebration of heritage, religion, race or some identifying quality at some point during the year.  In fact, you may join into several .  There are so many celebrations it is hard not to be a part of something grand.

We all take part in the fourth of July celebration.  We are proud of our heritage and wish to celebrate it.  There are parades and picnics, concerts and fireworks, flag waving and red, white and blue decorating.  Television shows, especially those of Public Television, bring us programs of our history, national parks and our unique music.  It is hard not to be swept up in the grand emotions of the day.  Do your emotions swell with pride?

Many also celebrate their ethnic background through a variety of events.  They honor the Independence of the nations of their ancestors as well as our own Independence.  Cinco de Mayo, for example, is a great day of events to honor Mexican heritage, although it is not Mexican Independence Day as some think.  In fact, it may be a bigger deal here than in Mexico.  Nevertheless, we all join our Mexican neighbors in the festivities.  September 16 is actually Mexican Independence day in case you were wondering why our friends were celebrating again.

German-American Festival, Chicago

Here our German heritage is celebrated with Von Steuben Parade and a weekend of Oktoberfest-like parties.  Baron Friedrich von Steuben was a German military officer and volunteer for General George Washington in the Revolutionary War.  By the end, he was Washington’s chief of staff.  Imagine the Pride for German Americans that this officer, born in Germany, helped to secure the Independence of America.  He was born on September 17th, hence our combined Von Steuben and Oktoberfest events.  By the way, we are also proud to say that our German parade was used as the parade in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  I guess it is appropriate Ferris is singing Danke Schoen.

In a city as diverse as Chicago, we always seem to be having parades.  In the summer, there are many weekends I can walk to the corner and watch a parade head down Montrose Avenue in celebration of a South or Central American country.  I see the delight in the faces of children from Guatemala or Mexico, Peru or Columbia, Brazil or Ecuador who are new to this country or first generation Americans.  I also see the faces of parents and grandparents who are proud of their ethnic culture and proud to be here.

Ethnic pride

A variety of religious events bring a feeling of pride to those who belong to the various religions around town. There are sometimes parades, sometimes outdoor services, sometimes grand occasions.  Many are proud of the churches built by their ancestors.  A church I attended was built by our German ancestors over one hundred years ago.  It stands proudly on its corner with a tower visible for miles.  Certainly the founders of our German American neighborhood would be proud to know their ancestors still come to this corner to attend mass and celebrate the founding of our church and school.  Many of the ancestors are in fact proud to be here.  All of the great religions can claim a home in Chicago.

We celebrate the culture of our colors as well.  Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Native American Center, Du Sable Museum of African-American History all take pride in having a home here.  The events rooted in the background of color are a source of honor for many.  Indeed, Black Pride takes an important role in the cultural life of a city for more than just one month a year.  We are the proud home of the roots of jazz and blues and the unique contribution of black Americans to our nations music.  We are also proud to be the home of the first black president.

French visitor at Du Sable Museum, Chicago

If I was to pull up the calendar of events for the City of Chicago, I would likely find more celebrations of heritage than I could reasonably report in this space.  There is so much to be proud of that a simple report just would not suffice.  This weekend I would find one that you might question.  Many question it, and they should get an answer.

Why is there “Gay Pride?” Is this something to be proud of?  Why are so many people partying in the streets?  Why do we need a parade?  We don’t have Hetero Pride Day.  Why is this something special?  Sexual orientation does not seem like the thing to parade in the streets.  Who you love does not seem to be a reason for a parade, although perhaps it should be.

For a particular group of citizens who often felt isolated, it is important to come together to remember that you are not alone.  If your sexual orientation is not the majority, you are different.  If you grew up, as most did, afraid to express who you are, it is not unusual to come to celebrate the man or woman you tried to deny for many years.  Last year it was estimated that over 1 million people jammed the parade route in Chicago.  If the weather is good, we are likely to see the same again.

Pride Parade, Chicago

I have only been to the parade a few times.  It is long, boring, and overcrowded.  It seems every local politician is in the parade along with every large corporation that wishes to curry favor with the LGBT community.  The neighborhood has a perimeter that makes it difficult to get in and out for hours before the event, to hours afterward. Local business are crowded and it is tough to find a seat anywhere.

Despite that, a million people are proud to be there.

23 thoughts on “SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF – RICH PASCHALL

  1. Rich, I was the “parade reporter” for many years. The suits assigned me a) because senior reporters didn’t like covering parades, b) I was a live diversity ad for the gathered throngs, c) I oftened livened up parades,
    d) I became synonymous with parade coverage in Boston.

    I actually ENJOYED covering parades. They were a relief from politics, murders, preverts run amuck, disasters, etc.

    Usually, I saw the best side of people, proud of their ethnicity, patriotism, sexuality, holiday spirit, etc.
    I was always prepared for those who arrived lubricated for their celebration and/or ready to release the darker side of their personality.

    This year’s 4th of JUly celebration in Boston should be interesting. Our Boston Pops/Along the Charles River Gala usually is an “upper” even during the worst of times. (Once, Arthur Fiedler let me hold the baton for a few minutes)

    We’ll see if the 1812 overture, Patriotic medleys, and fireworks trump the melancholy state of our union.

    I’m putting my money on Yankee Doodle Dandy!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Agree, Rich. When I/we was/were younger, the Boston 4th of July event was definitely a MUST attend. We usually got good, up front spots for the concert. Lawn chairs on the grass, chatting with people, etc made it a WONDERFUL experience. I also had a nice balcony view from my Charles River Park high rise apartment if we felt lazy or weather was a factor. Keep in mind, I usually WORKED the parade.

        My favorite parade/public celebration was Boston’s North End/Itailian summer “Festival of the Saints” galas. I was unofficially adopted by many families and restaurant owners. If I was working, they made sure I was fed and my thirst was quenched. If I was off, it was an absolute BLAST. No holds barred. They used to scream “Hey, Garry!!” from the roof tops. Those were my much ballyhooed bachelor years. So, Mamas would have their well endowed daughters leaning up windows with the cries of “Hey, Garryeee”. Rich, I felt like I was in a Fellini flick. Marilyn was with me for a couple of those parades. I was Marcello Mastroanni (sp?) on those days and nights. Golly!!

        Back to the present: Uxbridge is an hour plus from Boston, roads are always clogged and the main access ways to the July 4th concert are CLOSED early in the day. So, television is our venue and the locals have their private, individual fireworks which drive the Scotties nuts.

        On another note, I covered some “Black Pride” parades during my career. I always had an ambiguous/ambivalent feeling. A variation on the “St. Patrick’s Day” parades, if you get my drift.

        Rich, I smell a blog coming up. It’s all your fault!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I definitely think you have a blog or two there.
          My friend went to the pride parade. He said it was crazy crowded as I suspected it would be. I just can’t stand for hours. It is definitely for the younger crowd.
          Many Hispanic parades take a course through the neighborhood. I can see some of them on a Sunday afternoon in the summer. When I hear the noise, I walk to the corner with my camera. I like it.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As Australia is also a country of migrants we also have many festivals celebrating many cultures. I think that even if you embrace your new country it is fine to celebrate your roots. To me that is what multiculturism is, sharing your culture with others. One thing I do find different though is that Americans seen to refer to people as Italian American, Polish American etc, etc, I don’t think we really do that here so much. We also have Gay Pride parades notably the Mardi Gras in Sydney now a mainstream event , big and crowded that many politicians want to be part of not unlike yours in Chicago. I don’t enjoy crowds so it would not be something I would attend but I totally get why it was originally started.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tas, it’s funny you mention the crowd thing. Usually, I don’t enjoy crowds. But with parades, it’s different. You’re just another face in the crowd (sorry).
      However, these days we avoid parades. They are difficult venues for Marilyn and me because of our disabilities. Television is our eye on the world.
      (I think the hyphenated ethnic description of some parades is part of our “political correctness” thing. I guess it would be a Native American-American Parade for some folks.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know what you mean Garry. I love the buzz of the crowd at an event too. It’s why I liked to go to motor racing events and still go to cricket matches. You can see more on television but you don’t get the atmosphere. Same with parades. What would be the point of a parade if nobody watched. But I am short. I can’t see over people’s heads. I get a backache if I have to stand for too long and lately pains in my feet. I get fed up with being jostled. An event in a big city would be more tiring than the small town events I go to.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sean, we are kindred spirits. I’m also short. Factor in age, hearing woes and assorted physical issues and TV is the way to go for these events. Our local (small town) events are more accessible. But they are what they are.

          I have a friend who treats me to one or two baseball games at Fenway Park every summer. I love the game once I’m in my seat. However, everything else is just a pain the butt.

          God, I sound like a whining old fart. Sorry!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I understand completely. I would love to go to Wrigley, but it is an ordeal making it there and to the seat. Worse, the current owners narrowed the already narrow walkways to put in more seats.

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