The Struggle

Leesburg Today
July 15, 2005
By Michelle Grisé, Purcellville

On July 4, a sweltering hot day, I had a number of fun things I could choose from to do on my extra day off. I could have gone to a friend’s to sun and swim or attended a picnic at my sister’s along with other friends and family. But instead, I had to make a more difficult choice on this Independence Day. Should I march in the Purcellville parade with members of the Catoctin County Coalition, who would like their independence from the many developer-friendly citizens in eastern Loudoun or should I march in the Leesburg parade with my friends from Equality Loudoun who were marching for the same freedoms afforded the rest of the citizenry of this county? I chose the Leesburg parade this time.

I was apprehensive. I was not feeling patriotic at all. With more than 1,800 U.S. soldiers dead from the war/occupation in Iraq and the thousands upon thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, I was not feeling “Proud to be an American.” But, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this was important. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness do not belong just to a privileged few, they belong to all. Liberty and Justice for all.

As we proceeded down the streets people were watching and reading. It was so heartening to see people rise to their feet and hear thunderous clapping and shouts of “Yeah, that’s right,” “Way to go,” and “Thank you.”

I cried.

I miss the old parades with the fire trucks and marching bands. Over the years I’ve watched the parades become more political with cars plastered with candidate’s signs. And it is nothing more than advertising. But, the float like the one Equality Loudoun put together, with its patriotic slogan “With Liberty and Justice for ALL,” was thoughtfully put together in keeping with the theme of the day and hopefully reminded people of the struggle that is still going on in this country for some people.

More letters about the parade:

Justice for All
Positive Light
Stay Home
Press Release from Equality Loudoun

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