There is no doubt that we are living in a fast-paced world. We’re surrounded by people using all kinds of electronic equipment, oblivious to the outside world. People are busy texting as they cross the street, drive their cars, eat and interact with family and friends.
There are so many things that were a part of my life and my parents’ lives that are fast disappearing from our daily consciousness. It seems that with technology the “in” thing and life moving at a faster speed, old-time traditions are on the way out the door.
I got my first reminder about the fast-paced lives we’re living as I watched, of all things, the ceremony honoring the Yankees’ old-timers. Once upon a time, Yankee Stadium would be packed to the rafters with baseball fans wanting to see and salute some of the great names in baseball history. Teams across the country would do the same and honor their legends.
Today there are no professional teams setting aside an afternoon to salute the likes of Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Hank Greenberg and countless others. The crowd at this year’s Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium was sparse compared to the events of 10 or 20 years ago.
This week we honor the nation’s independence. As a child and as an adult, I was proud to be a spectator at the time-honored parade down my main street in Long Beach. As an elected official, I never missed the opportunity to honor the holiday and the men and women who fought to make us a democracy.
As corny as it sounds, I still get a very emotional feeling at the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and seeing soldiers, past and present, parading down the main streets of America. I fondly remember going to football games involving the Army and Navy teams and watching as these future heroes paraded into some major stadium.
The crowds at Independence Day parades seem to get a little smaller each year, and I truly wonder what will happen 50 years from now, when the classic wars will hopefully be a distant memory. There are still many veterans alive and visible at all of these holiday remembrances, but the level of appreciation, sadly, seems to be very low.