If holidays come with a theme song, then this Fourth of July is definitely “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley.
The heat was rising off the pavement in Fairfax City as the various
entries “stepped off” in the annual Independence Day parade and began
their mile-long circuit. The crowd of 25,000 people was there early,
staking out space for seats and water coolers. For a candidate in
Fairfax, July 4th is critical. More people will see you on this day
then practically all the other days of your campaign put together.
As the guest announcer in Fairfax, I had the honor of opening the
festivities and announcing the color guard. Senator John Warner, Susan
Allen (George’s wife) and Tom Davis were among the prominent officials
coming through in the first division. Once my role was done, I ran back
to the staging area to join the local Democrats.
Back there was a company of about 200 volunteers, mostly to support Jim
Webb. It was a larger crowd than even the Memorial Day parade in Falls
Church. I mean it was impressive. We got started (sans candidate) and
marched down Chain Bridge, turned right on Main Street, then took the
backstretch down University Avenue chanting “Let’s go, Jim Webb!”. The
crowd was supportive but inquisitive: where’s the candidate? Then a
half-mile from the finish, Jim Webb appeared in tan slacks, a blue
Oxford shirt and the ubiquitous boots. With the leader in front, we
swept past the grandstand in a sea of signs, t-shirts and waving arms.
A very good showing. Thanks to the folks at “Raising Kaine”
www.raisingkaine.com for capturing the action with photos.
The rest of the parade was a reflection of the new demographic reality
of Fairfax County. The beloved Kena Temple shriners are losing numbers
as they get older. Meanwhile, three Bolivian dance groups — all
wearing heavy leather suits and jangling bells — paraded through in
generational waves. It’s a good sign to see new residents participating
in our national birthday. It’s also a good sign that nobody passed out
in the heat.
The rest of the day involved a visit to my parents’ house (happy 65th
birthday, Mom) and a trip to the town of Vienna for its July 4th
festivities. Tonight we take the kids to Fairfax High School for a
night of rock and roll music and fireworks. Happy 4th of July everyone.