"We've been asked to move the Fourth of July to the 30th May," quipped Arlington County Manager W. Vernon Ford.

Well, not quite. But the Arlington County board was asked recently to lend support to a plan to hold the traditional July 4 parade on Memorial Day.

Although the parade is sponsored by a private organization - Parade Arlington Independence Day (PAID) - parade organizers wanted the board's approval to hold a Memorial Day Parade this year, instead of an Independence Day parade.

The reasons, according to Norman C. Worthington, president of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, are simple: "We find that the heat in July is oppressive, particularly for small children. The schools are disbanded and we've had trouble getting bands together.

"We've also had comments from some county who say they'd like to have the July 4 weekend off for a change. We think we can have larger crowds if we put it on in May rather than July."

Some board members voiced a little skepticism, especially vice chairman Ellen M. Bozman who noted that the parade traditionally has been held the same day as the July 4 fireworks display. ""I'm sympathetic," she said, "but I can't see splitting it up."

"I don't see that there's any real tie-in between the parade and the fireworks," Worthington countered. "I would be pleading with you that we can put on a better parade in May rather than in July."

"I think it's worth a try myself," said board chairman John W. Purdy.

In the end, a reluctant Bozman joined board members Walter L. Frankland, Dorothy T. Grotos and Purdy in supporting the plan. Board member Joseph S. Wholey was absent.