Senators reveal tricks on July 4 parade etiquette

When it comes to the Fourth of July, you can bet your miniature American flag that you can find many of the nation’s senators in one place: the parade route.

Several lawmakers told ITK they intend on taking part in the traditional Independence Day activity.

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Sen. Scott Brown, who is in a tough reelection race, has packed his schedule with not one but a trio of the high-stepping rituals, saying, “I’ve always loved parades and I do parades all the time. It’s not a chore, it’s something I really enjoy.”

For the Massachusetts Republican, skipping a parade is not an option: “Can’t have the Fourth of July without barbecue, fireworks and parades.”

Spectators in Oregon can expect to see one of their senators joining in on some of the festivities. “Going to be parading in southern Oregon,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said without missing a beat, when asked about his plans.

In his more than 11 years in office, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has done his fair share of parades. But this year, the retiring senator says, will be a bit different: “I’m not running, so I’m going to leave the parades to the candidates.”

Nelson considers himself a sort of trailblazer among parading politicians: “I sort of set a standard of walking in Nebraska rather than riding in the back of a car.”

Nelson even has some tips for future parade participants — be wary of the color of your headwear. Nelson says he was once given a black hat, but decided never to wear it since “In the serials and cowboy shows early on with Roy Rogers, the bad guys always had a black hat.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who we hear at 88 years old still walks parade routes, is figuring out exactly which parade he’ll be waving in this year, saying, “You know what happens, there are lots of them. Then [parade organizers ask] why did you take one and didn’t you take mine?”

There’s at least one senator who’s willing to admit that she is simply paraded out.

“I’ve done 18 years of parades as a county supervisor and as mayor. I figure I’ve done my parade duty,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said cheerfully.

The California Democrat cracks with a smile, “As a matter of fact, when I left being the mayor I thought, ‘Never again do I have to do the parade.’  ”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’s lining up for some Independence Day parades on Wednesday, has five words of advice for any wannabe parade pro: “Wave equally to both sides.”