The Constitution Day Parade

(Sunday September 8, 2013)


Nevada Cityís Constitution Day Parade has been a local tradition since 1967 and is reported to be the oldest and largest Constitution observance in western America. This 47th Annual Constitution Day Parade tops a weekend of festivities. The 2 p.m. Sunday parade features more than 100 entries and culminates other activities including Revolutionary War Living History in Pioneer Park, the Gold Country Duck Race on Deer Creek. The parade through the downtown historic district includes marching bands, floats, antique autos, equestrians, politicians and perennial crowd favorites such as the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band and the Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City, a humorous but reverent group that portrays each U.S. president..."We the people, in order to honor and celebrate the Constitution of the United States, form a near-perfect Marching Unit, establish Community Service, insure domestic Knowledge of the Presidents, provide for the Common Amusement, promote the general Respect, and secure the Blessings and Awards of Constitution Day Parade Judges to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City, California."

Before the Parade began, anti-war protesters descended down a closed-to-traffic Broad Street and were intercepted Sunday by Nevada City police, who kept the unscheduled marchers from interrupting the ceremonial re-enactment of the signing of the U.S. Constitution that traditionally marks the beginning of the Constitution Day Parade. After the annual signing ceremony was completed, the protesters finished their march down Broad Street to the Highway 20/49 overpass, where at least 60 demonstrators waved signs and draped banners off the bridge in opposition to a potential United States military strike in Syria. ďIím opposed to this proposed bombing of Syria because I donít believe it is going to help the Syrian people and wonít stop the proliferation or use of chemical weapons,Ē said Emanuel Sferios, founder of the Grass Valley-based Occucards, which creates post-card sized protest cards. Bless their hearts for protesting  the never ending destructive wars that have killed millions of people all over the world for as long as I can remember.

The Nevada Union High School Choir sings the National Anthem with the Color Guard in the background.

The Parade of Marching Presidents stop at the judges stand, and Abe Lincoln gives The Gettysburg Address.

Crowd along Broad Street watching the parade.

A youthful Uncle Sam.

Masonic Grand Master John Lowe and his wife ride in the parade.

Nevada County Tea Party - American Patriots banner, followed by six youthful Freedom Rider motorcyclists revving their bikes, flying American and "Don't Tread on Me" flags and banners affirming their support for the United States Constitution.

A depiction of our Constitution in flames with a plea, "Don't Burn Me," is a graphic reminder that it is up to "We" the people to protect the Constitution, which alone guarantees the freedoms we Americans may take for granted. Sue McGuire carries the sign and hands out little booklets of the Constitution.

Despite his failing health, Uncle Sam arrived in a wheelchair while receiving oxygen treatments from his attending physician. Inquiring citizens were advised by his doctor that Uncle Sam had been diagnosed with "politicalitis," which could only be cured by People vigorously defending the Constitution. As Dr. Cheryl Heward pushes sickly ol' Uncle Sam in his wheelchair, a lady spectator shouts, "I have some Medical Marijuana you can use!" Uncle Sam feebly replies "Okay." But then his doctor pushing him says that "All he needs is a good constitution." Later, Uncle Sam could be overheard saying, "Not so long ago, President Reagan rallied Americans, so maybe we can do it again.

The NCTP float with one foot black letters stating, "QUESTION AUTHORITY!" reminds us to question any given governmental action and consider, "IS IT CONSTITUTIONAL?" In observing any governmental action, consider, "Is it Constitutional?" If the answer is "No," what will you do about it? Tea Party volunteers showed their patriotism by handing out to the crowd over 100 pocket Constitutions with inserts encouraging Americans to get to Know their Constitution and to "Question Authority!" Are they upholding the laws they swear an oath to uphold, or are they breaking them?

A member of the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band & Temperance Society, Ltd. plays the trombone with a duck on his hat.

The Shriners' Chinese Golden Dragon plays with the crowd.

I think the Constitution Parade is a good reminder of what America is all about. A lot of men died to establish our Independence from the Aristocracy dictatorship Great Britain. We celebrate that on July 4th. Following that accomplishment our Founders went to work on the Constitution and it's Bill of Rights, but some people didn't think all human beings deserved the same freedom and rights outlined in the Constitution. Thousands more men died in the Civil war to eliminate human slavery in the South. Abraham Lincoln believed that slavery had to be checked because it was an aristocratic institution contrary to the interests of the "plain people." So of the Civil War he reasoned, "This is essentially a peoples contest. On the side of the Union it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men; to lift artificial weights from all shoulders; to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life."

While one critic of the Constitutional Day Parade in Nevada city felt disgruntled concerning political activism instead of it being a parade for kids and families to  have fun, he seemed to forget that both the Fourth of July and Constitutional Day celebrations remind us of where our freedoms (and fun) we take for granted come from. As another person put it, "I donít get it. If a Constitution Day Parade isnít the proper place to air your political beliefs, when is? Isnít having the ability to exercise our Free Speech Rights as American as Apple Pie?"

Stand By Me

Ben E. King Lyrics

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me
Stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
All the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me
Stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me
Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me
Oh stand by me, oh won't you stand now, stand
Stand by me
Stand by me