I recently met several people visiting Fort Wayne for the first time. Proudly, I answered their questions about my beloved city's rich history and told them what I knew about the upcoming Three River's Festival.
That pride for our community quickly turned to disgust on Saturday. My biggest hope was that none of those visitors witnessed the embarrassing spectacle of the TRF Parade.
I often think back to past TRFs. I have participated in numerous TRF events and marched in the parade several times in the 1980s. It is something I recall fondly.
As participants, we all seemed to take pride in our costumes and floats. Planning began weeks before the event. It was a parade, after all! A time to put in effort, show up in your finery and display your creativity and civic pride.
The sad spectacle I witnessed on Saturday seemed to display that we are now a community of lazy, apathetic and passionless people whose effort seems to be wholly composed of wearing matching T-shirts and lumbering along the parade route in a disorganized fashion, often while sipping from a water bottle. Is this truly a representation of our city?
I feel sorry for the children who viewed or participated in this “parade.” I hope they don't grow up thinking that this is what a parade is supposed to be.
I truly appreciate the few stand-outs who put in some labor and took the time to think and be creative. Their effort was visible to all and showed well-deserved pride in themselves, their organization and their community. These people understood that they were in a parade.
I have always proudly proclaimed myself as a citizen of Fort Wayne with a patriotic zeal, but after witnessing the lackluster performance of the majority of parade participants I wonder how many others share this feeling. Fort Wayne has a lot to be proud of and the TRF is a great time to celebrate what is good about our city.
There have been great strides in making Fort Wayne an even more attractive place to live and visit. This sad representation of our community during the opening of our biggest festival was a humiliating experience for our great community. If I want to watch groups of randomly dispersed people walk by in t-shirts I can sit in front of a grocery store.
I know that with a little effort the TRF Parade can once again be an asset to our community. I know Fort Wayne can do better!
James M. Tatum