Thursday, July 12, 2018

The changing of the guard ....

I spent too much time yesterday staring at this great old photograph, trying to date it --- and couldn't. Based upon the automobiles kind of visible in the background, I'm guessing it was taken during the late 1940s, just after World War II, but can't be more specific than that.

Most likely, this is a 4th of July parade and the parade destination might have been what now is Yocom Park --- then East Park --- a venue secondary to the town square for Independence Day celebrations. The American Legion Junior Band and visiting parade units often performed in the amphitheater there after parades and fireworks always were set off there after dark. This would explain why the parade is headed east on Braden, past the Hotel Charitone.

The color guard and marchers behind them are Legionnaires, Carl L. Caviness Post 102. At that time, the Legion organized Chariton's July 4th celebrations. And not just the 4th of July parade. On Memorial Day, the Legionnaires, the Legion Band and others marched to the Chariton Cemetery. On Armistice Day, another parade was organized on the square.

Look at the men who are marching --- most of them younger men, most likely World War II veterans, but the flag-bearer is older, most likely one of the World War I veterans who had founded the Legion post more than 20 years earlier. So I see this as kind of a symbolic photograph --- marking a changing of the guard.

The photograph came to the historical society some years from the Legion post in an inexpensive frame, so it had some significance, long forgotten. In the interests of conserving the photograph, we've taken it out of the frame and now keep it with other Legion-related memorabilia.

It's a beautiful photograph in fine shape --- just wish that somewhere out there in Chariton's collective memory there was a little more information about it.

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