An Oradell Fourth of July, 2020
Journeys into Oradell
As has been the case for much of 2020, this Fourth of July is a different one – unlike any we have had before. There is no parade. No speeches. No fireworks. No food trucks. No official activities of any kind for that matter.
Over the years, I always enjoyed the Oradell parade – it was very hometown and on a human scale. Marching bands and floats represented the small town intimacy of Oradell at its best.
I especially enjoyed the parade’s early start – allowing us to gather and honor America and our town as our first and most important task of the day. It also allowed us to sit and watch before the heat and humidity of a hot summer’s day became unbearable – a nice consideration to our elderly.
Finally, the early start allowed for a wonderful opportunity for those watching to share a curbside breakfast while watching the parade pass.
In Connecticut there is a town that is now famous for how it adapted when one year (1986), no marching band could be found for Windham’s Memorial Day Parade. Five weeks later, the “Boom Box Parade” concept was born, as WILI-AM radio played the marching band music on the air, while thousands marched and watched, loudly playing their radios (boom boxes). It has been staged ever since – though due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and social distancing guidelines, the 35th annual July 4th “Boom Box Parade” will not be held in 2020. However the local station –WILI - will provide a “Virtual” Boom Box Parade, starting at 11 a.m. on July 4th, featuring photos and videos of prior parades, the marching band music sound track, and some other surprises. Part of me is wondering whether there might not be a way for us to adapt - an equivalent local “Plan B” observance – perhaps a drive by of police cars and fire trucks for the kids at a proper social distancing. Just a thought.
As it is, this year we will have our July Fourth breakfast and BBQ. We will proudly fly our flag. But we will miss what used to be and is no more – at least not now. We will miss gathering with neighbors and friends, and we will the chance to celebrate together – not just the Fourth of July, but also what makes Oradell so special.
We might not see each other this year. But I will be thinking of you.
Image Credit: Oradell Fourth of July and Tappan Zee Bridgemen