OXFORD — Reflections on Independence Day the week after the Fourth of July:
• Watching a children’s parade on the Oxford Square Thursday morning, I was impressed with the number of American flags displayed, along with the absence of the Confederate battle flag.
There may have been a Mississippi State flag or a Confederate banner in the parade, but if there was, I didn’t notice it.
I couldn’t help but recall my first year working for the newspaper in McComb — the summer of 1964 when Confederate banners outnumbered American flags almost everywhere but the post office.
United States flags being displayed in front of private residences was so rare that when I noticed one on a street near where I lived, I took a picture and did a July Fourth story on the couple who were displaying it.
They weren’t native Mississippians. He was a retired FBI agent who had also served in the military, as I recall.
Now it’s common for people all over Mississippi to fly the United States flag on patriotic holidays, and that’s a good thing.
Not as many of us consider the federal government the enemy as was the case in 1964 when the national government was enforcing desegregation edicts from the federal courts.
• Something else that impressed me about the Oxford parade was four policemen on horseback leading it.
I’ve seen the mounted police before when there were huge crowds on the Square following a football game.
Obviously the big horses are effective in crowd control, which, I suppose, is the main purpose of using them.
Also, a policeman astride one has a better view of the crowd than from on foot.
The horses are well-behaved, both in a pressing crowd and leading a parade.
Seeing them, I was again reminded of McComb in the 1960s.
Mrs. Loreice Naklie was chairman of the Christmas parade for many years, ruling over it effectively. There was always a horse brigade in the parade, but she decreed that they be the last ones in it so the others, including the band members, wouldn’t have to watch their steps.
I don’t know how they control those Oxford police horses, but they are better mannered than your average steed. Nobody following had to step on anything but concrete.
• One vehicle in the parade sported two American flags, one the current banner and the other what I think was the Betsy Ross flag, the one Nike had put on the back of some overpriced tennis shoes that it pulled from distribution after its pitch man, Colin Kaepernick, criticized the flag as being from an era when there was slavery.
Kaepernick, a former pro football quarterback who is now billed as a social justice activist, was the leader in the move among some athletes to take a knee rather than stand during the national anthem.
My next new shoes won’t be Nikes.
• I suppose all the many celebrations last week paled in comparison to the extravaganza President Trump put on in the nation’s capital by displaying tanks, war planes and military troops. It was a show that tyrants such as Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Vladimir Putin of Russia might have envied if they were paying attention.
Being of the Teddy Roosevelt school of speaking softly and carrying a big stick, I’m among those who don’t think it necessary to display the nation’s might as long as we have it.
But I confess to watching some of the show on C-SPAN. I made it through part of Trump’s speech, but I must have dozed off during the best part.
Reading about it later, I learned that after his teleprompter went out, Trump mistakenly credited George Washington’s Continental Army with having an air force. An excerpt:
“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.
“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”
In addition to the lack of air power in George Washington’s day, the Ft. McHenry thing was at Baltimore in the War of 1812.
And they say Joe Biden makes too many slips of the tongue.
• Charles M. Dunagin is the retired editor and publisher of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb. He lives in Oxford.