Here is a case in point. In the Grand Marshall selection process leading up to the 4th of July parade, there was a bit of controversy (well, a difference of opinion) on who exactly should be selected for the honor. And there really were two camps with decidedly different viewpoints on the matter. Which is fine. Sierra Madre is a town where folks care about such things. And people here understand that.
But this is how the Sierra Madre Weekly saw it:
"Despite some Bloggo-blabbermouth's claim to the contrary, there was no 'controversy' over the selection of the July 4th Parade Grand Marshall in Sierra Madre this year. In fact, the 'controversy' was only blog propelled and perceived."
Of course, what the authors of this article (most likely in part Terry Miller, the long time SMW mainstay who apparently outed himself recently as having once been a photographer for the lascivious website The Cumquat) are referring to here is something that appeared on this very blog. Though I can't for the life of me figure out who he is referring to as a "Bloggo-blabbermouth." The people who write for The Tattler are highly sophisticated artisans of the written word who deal in great ideas expressed with stunning clarity. If they didn't they'd be writing for The Weekly.
(Personally, I think Terry's umbrage here is due to his being a tad upset that we made fun of noted environmental advocate Joe Mosca and the "Green Thunder V-8 GTO" he rode in our 4th of July parade. Terry does seem to be a dedicated fan of the Councilman, and can become distraught when others don't share his enthusiasm.)
And so, as volunteers dedicated to bringing truth to the fore, we here at the Sierra Madre Tattler are going tell this as it really happened. This is a Sierra Madre story, and one that needs to be heard.
At this year's Memorial Day ceremonies at the Pioneer Cemetery, Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray gave a speech that many who attended agreed was a first class remembrance for the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served. And there was one paragraph in particular that made a lasting impression on those listening.
"In 48 months of World War II there were 1,078,162 casualties, with 407,316 deaths, or about 6,639 Americans dying in combat during each month of the war. These are staggering numbers. And the recriminations even during the war at home from the politicians and the press were as relentless as they are today. But Americans in the field never faltered. Even after 19,000 Americans died in the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944, and 13,000 died in hand-to-hand combat taking Okinawa, our troops persevered. Their courage and sacrifice knew no bounds. And as we all know, as does the world, without our contribution to the war civilization as we know it would not have survived - aggressive tyrannies would have controlled continents to the East and West. This is what it means to say that the dead shall not have died in vain. And, thank God, not all of our soldiers died - millions who wore a uniform survived, and some of them are here with us today."
And as she said these words the eyes of all present turned to observe the men of our Veterans of Foreign Wars post, some of whom are our last surviving veterans of the war that MaryAnn had just so vividly described. They seized their rifles, stepped up and as they have done throughout long decades now past, fired a salute in honor of the those who died in this greatest of causes.
It was then that some of the people who attended this memorial began to realize that we needed to do something to honor these men. Because if we didn't do it now, when would we ever have that opportunity again?
So a campaign was organized, and people began sending letters and e-mails to the 4th of July Parade Committee, asking them to honor the service of these men though their selection as this year's collective Grand Marshal. And it seemed inevitable to many that this would happen. How could it not?
But then no decision was made, at least for a while, nor was there any indication from "The Committee" (as they styled themselves) that this idea was in any way acceptable to them. Some of those advocating the VFW selection began to worry, and asked Mayor MacGillivray if perhaps she might intercede and move things along a little bit. MaryAnn agreed to do this, and initiated an exchange of e-mails with Matt Bosse, the head of The Committee.
I would like to nominate the VFW as Grand Marshals for this year's parade. No group could be more deserving to be honored on Independence Day than those who fought for our freedom and independence. Many of the members in Sierra Madre are going into care-giving situations and we may not have the opportunity again.
This is the e-mail Mayor MacGillivray received in return from Matt:
Thank you for your nomination. I will bring this before the committee for consideration.
Sensing in the brevity of this reply that perhaps Matt wasn't aware of the importance of this request to many in our community, or the exact meaning such an honor would bring to our parade, MaryAnn made another attempt.
I know that quite a few people have forwarded nominations for the VFW for this year's parade. I have also learned that if they are Grand Marshals, the various branches of the Armed Forces will send a band contingent -- that would be a first, I think, for Sierra Madre. I'm sure that the committee will agree that within our community there is a no group or person more deserving of the recognition than the VFW and so in anticipation I will make the initial contact for the bands. Please let me know who the other members of the committee are so that I can share this information with them. We will not have this opportunity again.
Now you would think that the identities of the members of a committee chosen to select a Grand Marshall for a village 4th of July parade would not be a state secret, and it could be shared at least with a Mayor. But apparently this was no run-of-the-mill parade selection committee. It needed to be hidden away. Like Dick Cheney in his bunker.
Thank you for your third (sic) email nominating VFW for Grand Marshals; they are a very worthy candidate for the honor of Grand Marshal, as are our 12 nominations so far. As per tradition, I will bring this nomination (along with your emails) to the committee for consideration, as has been done for the past 20+ years ... We have received 13 nominations so far, and the committee has asked me to put the nominations together for them to decide upon at the end of May. Each nominator feels very strongly and passionately about their nominee, so in order to avoid a deluge of phone calls, emails, and lobbying to each member, I am going to ask you to trust me to bring each nomination forward to the committee.
Hope you have a nice Memorial Day Weekend,
Obviously Matt took this responsibility very seriously. And committee security certainly did hold. Not only did nobody surmise the identities of this secret committee before the parade, as far as I can tell their identities are still a secret. Hopefully they have been able to return to Sierra Madre and resume normal lives here.
As we all know, The Committee, whoever they may be, did not select the VFW to serve as this year's Grand Marshal to the Sierra Madre 4th of July Parade. Instead that honor went to a very distinguished citizen of our town, Midge Morash. Midge, known to many here as Mother Nature, is credited with creating some of the wooded preserves in town, saving them from the developers' bulldozers. Bailey Canyon Park in particular serves as a monument to her caring and dedication. It is a place that I know well as it is about 100 yards from where I'm sitting now. We've hosted many birthday parties for our children there.
So that was the controversy. Some were disappointed, others apparently not. But we all got past it, and had a wonderful parade. As we have for the past 20+ years. And beyond.