I stood between two Elias on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and found myself reflecting on my good fortune. Last Sunday was March 25th, Greek Independence Day. For the sixth year in a row, I was at the parade in Philadelphia covering the event from street level, the epicenter. But this year was different. I was a year older and a bit more contemplative. Most people come to the parade to either share the patriotic moment by cheering and waving flags, but for my family; it’s a little different. This year, as the parade began, I raised my camera and started to shoot. Smiles, flags, folk attire, it was all there, and very moving.
I could see my father, Elias Kostans to my right in the bleachers waving the Greek and American flags. He is very proud to be both, a Greek American. When I turned my head to the left, precisely 180 degrees, I could see in the grandstands my son, Elias (who is named after his grandfather) shooting the live broadcast for Cosmosphilly.com. Each of them was busy, watching and participating in the parade in their own way. They would even look across the parkway at each other on occasion, and I felt privy to those moments.
On this day, three generations of the Kostans family stood apart but managed to share the moment in their way. I knew that my father was watching his grandson across the parkway with a great sense of satisfaction. His grandson was growing up with a sense of Hellenism and was staying connected to his roots, all the while working with his dad. On the other hand, my son would have a generational connection and love of family by having a grandfather. Something neither my father and I had. I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, knowing that this circle had been strengthened.
As the parade went on, my son and I exchanged a smile between floats and groups of marchers. We gave the traditional thumbs up that Pappou usually initiates in a moment of joy. As the floats and churches continued to march by, I thought someday, I hope to know that bond, that he and his grandfather shared.