This morning we went to the Provo Freedom Festival Parade. It was really cool. There is all kinds of stuff that goes on here around the 4th of July. This morning before the parade there were tons of hot air balloons that went up. I guess they do it every year before the parade at 6:30 in the morning from the field right behind the Utah Valley Hospital. It’s pretty cool because you can go and watch them fill up and take off.

At basically the same time there are 3 races that happen at kiwanas park on the other side of the BYU campus from the hot air balloons. This morning Brandon and Todd ran the 5K, and Kim, Cami, and Kara all ran the one mile race. Austin and I walked around with the wagon and watched and cheered. That was pretty fun.

Afterwards we headed over to the parade to a spot where Kim’s parents ward had saved spots for us. It’s crazy what people do for this parade. I guess most of the spots for watching the parade were taken last night before 8:00 pm. TONS of people camp out overnight which I thought was ridiculous for such a little parade. After watching the parade I guess it wasn’t as ridiculous as I thought.

One of the first parade entries that went was a bunch of soldiers who had recently returned from Iraq. That was so cool. They of course got a huge standing ovation and it was very emotional. That was one of my favorite entries.

Former Governer Mike Leavitt (now in President Bush’s cabinet) was also in the parade as was current governer Orlene Walker.

Then 4 fighter jets flew overhead really low which was really cool. Then a couple of minutes later a huge air force jet flew over really low. It was a refueling plane as you could easily see the hose trailing from out of the back of the plane. That was really cool. Then towards the end of the plane there were 2 bi-planes that flew over leaving smoke trails.

Another really cool entry was a firetruck that was at the world trade centers on Sept. 11, 2001. It was all bent out of shape and you could tell it had been through something rough. It had an american flag draped across the top of it. It was being carried behind a semi truck and I would imagine it travels all over the country participating in parades. Right behind the truck was a huge piece of metal that was from the World Trade Centers. It was carried behind a semi that had a sign on it saying “Carrying 6 tons of the World Trade Centers”. The metal were beams that had been a part of the towers. They had all kinds of signatures and notes written on the metal from people after Sept. 11. It was really cool.

I never realized how cool of a parade this one is and how big of a deal it is around here. I think we’ll make a tradition of coming to it. I could see us in a few years camping out too to get good seats for it.

We did have an interesting experience during the parade too. We were sitting probably 20 feet away from the street but everyone in front of us had chairs they were sitting on. We couldn’t really see anything and didn’t have chairs for everyone to sit on (you couldn’t sit on the ground because you couldn’t see over the chairs in front of you). So we decided to sort of push our ways to the front and push the front line a little farther into the street. It wasn’t a big deal because there were no children sitting in the street right there. In fact, there wasn’t anyone sitting in the street right there. The front line of people stopped at the curb where a bunch of middle aged/old people were sitting. They had laid blankets out into the street as if to reserve the space for use, but they weren’t using it. Then, when a few more of us came and sat in the street, one of the women said something to us about sitting there when they had camped out overnight to get their seats.
Now, I can understand her feelings. She had been there all night and now there were people coming and sitting in front of her…however, I have a different take on the situation, and hope to learn from it in the future.

These old people had saved all kinds of space so that they could have the front row for the parade. They weren’t using the space. They had just reserved the space so that someone else couldn’t do it. They had blankets laid out in the street that were just sitting there, and nobody was sitting on them, or had sat on them, or was going to sit on them. It was ridiculous. When she said something, she was just saying something because her pride was hurt because they no longer had the best seats at the parade, even though we weren’t hurting her seats, weren’t hurting her parade experience at all. Nothing had changed for her except that people were sitting on the ground 10 feet in front of her.

What I hope to learn from it is to be more kind to people. To see things from other peoples perspectives, and to not be a jerk. When I’m old and able to reserve space like that at a parade, I hope to let families with small children come and sit in front of me. If my grandkids aren’t there, I hope to be able to benefit someone else instead of just trying to keep space for myself…just because I can.