|This float is more in the Christmas spirit than guns and politicians.|
It has been otherwise in recent years when the parade was basically taken over by people meaning it harm, especially in 2015, when gun-toting, Confederate battle flag-waving "3pers" intruded without invitation, allying themselves with Civil War re-enactors. I'm not sure even the re-enactors approved.
In 2014, I sat down after the parade and wrote a scathing criticism of it on this blog. That post, and a number that followed, brought praise and damnation to me, but it eventually allowed cooler heads to refine and re-define the parade as one where the Prince of Peace's birthday is celebrated. We'll see how that goes tonight, but I have great hope that it will be what was originally intended.
I believe it appropriate at this point to thank the Roanoke City Attorney's office, Downtown Roanoke Inc.'s board and executive director and all those who helped write new rules that ensure a parade we can all be proud of.
I am also hopeful that Christian churches in Roanoke, who have been so quiet throughout this disgrace, will have a little higher and a lot more courageous profile in the future. There is absolutely no excuse for their silence when their religion (one I don't share, but one for which I have great respect) was under severe attack. In the coming years, we are all going to require more courage than we've had in recent years to confront those attacking our institutions and this is an excellent place to begin.