Operation Eagle Visit

During the Vietnam era, my hometown adopted A Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles, and, according to the free daily newsrag here, was the only town in the country to hold a parade for returning Vietnam vets in 1972. So today (yesterday, now), the town did a repeat performance for the original parade's 40th anniversary.

Being civic-minded (if activity in those neighborhood groups that give the city council a hard time counts) citizens, and hearing that there was going to be food, Piglette and I strolled downtown to take in the festivities. However, being somewhat late risers, we missed half the parade. We did arrive just in time for Piglette to see horses, though.
And she also got to see the contingency from the local animal shelter. She went nuts for the horses, barking up a storm, and then tried to walk out into the street to greet the dogs. A lot of the day's photos were taken while pulling her back from something.

We arrived at the park, where the post-parade activities were held, just in time to watch them roll up the flag.
It could be my age talking (the older I get, the younger other people look), and you can't tell from this photo, but what struck me about these young men and women is that they are not far from being kids.My perception of what I think a soldier looks like has been skewed by the 30 and 40-something actors who portray them in films. It is sobering to realize that real soldiers resemble the kids playing in my neighbor's yard more than they do middle-aged actors.

It was even more sobering to see the never-ending line for the food. Fortunately, the beer line was short and it was only $5.00 for a Sierra Nevada pale ale! And, the food truck was a clever modified fire truck design, manned by local firefighters.
Piglette and I walked around the park, looking at the booths, greeting ALL the other dogs, watching the entertainment -- the local taiko group, a banjo band, a cover band -- and shaking hands with soldiers. Well, I shook hands, Piglette got a lot of rubs and stories about pets they had back home.

And with the thought of home, Piglette and I headed back to our own, sauntering the long way through downtown, stopping at our favorite places on the way, like Three Bs coffee, where they put smiley faces in my cappuccino and Wisnom's Hardware, where the ladies always have dog biscuits for Piglette, and Donut Delite, where they put extra donuts in my bag. It was a good day to appreciate everyone who makes our lives a little better in their own way. In particular, I appreciate that guy who still loves me, even though I can be broody and sometimes have anger issues and occasionally yell... just occasionally.

The story of how San Mateo came to adopt the Screaming Eagles is a bittersweet one. Sgt Joe Artavia wrote to his sister, Linda, asking if she could convince one of the local cities to adopt his unit. She had his request fulfilled, but two months later, her brother was killed in action. Linda went on to form America Supporting Americans, which works to match sponsors to units.