Posted by: Jim E | June 30, 2011

Independence Day Parade…A Small Town Parade…I Love That…

In my previous post I put a letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail…you can go back and read that post if you wish…but let me give you just a part of what I put in that post…it will give you the direction I will go with this bit of Independence Day celebration I have for you…“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shew, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means.”…I have left John Adams differences in writing of that time…but it is the heart of the letter that I want to talk about today…to start, I want to ask you a question…when was the last time you went to an Independence Day/July 4th parade???…for some of you…you never miss…for others it is more a “day off” that is celebrated…and that’s okay too…but a parade…a parade…Oh, come on, a parade…there is nothing like a parade…and an Independence Day parade, that is special…

John Adams put it this way at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, before the War for Independence…he put it this way in his letter to Abigail…“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shew, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”…this was before the Revolutionary War…before as he put it, “the blood, toil and treasure it will cost us”…but though there was much to go through, he knew that this was a great thing…and what it would mean to the future of this country…and he knew that we would always want to celebrate it…and so we have, and so we will…we will do it this weekend…my flags are out…and looking for a parade…there must be one an “old guy” can go to and enjoy…

I remember growing up in the 1950’s…my Dad was just back from his time in the Navy during WWII…he belonged to the American Legion…and they were always in our local parade…every small town seems to have a parade…I have been to many over the years…and when I was young we went to see my Dad march in the parade…they would lead the parade with the flag and march out front…I have a picture of my Dad and the color guard one July 4th parade in the ’50’s…now where is it???…Oh, here ya go…he is the one with the white shirt on…I think he was the commander of the post that year…thus the white shirt and his place in the parade…so I remember those parades in Golden Valley, Minnesota…and they happened in every little town and city across the land…and it happens in many towns today too…

Before we moved to Arkansas we went to a little town in western Minnesota for their Independence Day Celebration…more about that later…but it is still happening there today…one of our sons and his family lived in Prinsburg, Minnesota for a little while…and we went out there (about a three hour trip west, from the Minneapolis area)…Prinsburg is a farming community…with farms right up to the city limits…a beautiful area…population 497, so it does meet the criteria to be a small town…(see Google Earth picture)…if you are unfamiliar with farming communities, you should spend some time in one to get the feel…it is special…Judie, Jeremy and I went there for the celebration about three different years, even after our son and his family moved…Prinsburg seems to have gotten John Adams view of the Independence Day Celebration right…and this year, 2011, they are going about it in the same way…we went out on Saturday though it started on Friday with activities and then Saturday we came about 10:00 so it could be…”commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.”…Prinsburg starts the day with a worship service with all the flags and patriotic feeling you would want at a service like that…then it is followed by a roast pork dinner (with all the trimmings) at their school, hundreds are served over the two hours…so organized…(it is a private school, Central Minnesota Christian)…and this is a fundraiser for them…farmers supply the pork, the school provides the facilities and the whole town gets involved with the cooking and serving…what a wonderful event…we loved it…

And online there is this about the Prinsburg 2011 Independence Day Celebration…Come to a small town for a big event! There are events all day including a 10 a.m. worship service, trap shoots, festival games for the kids, and a dinner served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Another highlight is a 1850’s baseball game. The day ends with a kiddie parade and a main parade at 6 p.m...it is a small town…and it is a big event…because after the dinner there is the kids tractor pull, volleyball, treats, games, horse rides, baseball game, a dunk tank…and a myriad of other activities for adults and kids of all ages…and for me, plenty of shade to sit and people watch…we had a great time…the snack window was open…everyone so friendly…and everyone, well just about everyone, asks your name and how you came to be there…and so welcoming…they all knew our son and his wife and their family…and we were now, “just family” to them…we talked to those who where in their 80’s and beyond…and every other age…and learn the history of Prinsburg and the school and the area…to me, a breath of fresh air…

Okay, okay…the parade…I know, you ask where are the pictures…I looked and looked…can’t put my hands on them…but let me paint a word picture for you (well, I’ll throw in a couple of pictures)…just imagine the whole town plus all those who have “come back” for this celebration…and from miles around…we are all lined up on the main street…well heavens, look on the Google Map and see the main street…see it???…that’s right the parade starts on Roseland Avenue going South and East on Kandiyohi Avenue and County Road 1…why I knew you could see it…you are doing just fine…here comes the color guard…everyone stands that can stand…hand over the heart…sort of a reverent hush as the flag goes by…you can only hear the footsteps of the color guard…but then…a band…some floats…Oh ya, a tractor or two or three or more…and kids riding bikes all decked out…candy being thrown off the fire truck and floats…local organizations from near by towns come out in numbers…and different small businesses with cars, their sign taped on the door…and old cars from the 50’s and beyond…queens and princesses…4 H and all the other youth organizations…and the school is well represented…lots of talk and yelling and music and fun…

And then it is over…for another year…but it will last in the memory for a long time…an Independence Day Celebration in small town America…what can beat it…well, you know…nothing can…we talk and shake hands with all those we met that day…and promising and hoping that we will be back next year…to celebrate this great country and it’s Independence…but we know that some year, like my Dad’s generation…we won’t get back for the parade…for the celebration…but like John Adams, we can hope that there will always be those who will celebrate the independence of this wonderful country and continue to work to keep our freedom and liberty…

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Responses

  1. Awesome, I wish I lived near that little town I would love to go. Around here most of the cities have quit doing a 4th of July parade. Makes me sad, and when they do have one its full of cars with politicians. All I want to see is the floats, school bands, the fun stuff not cars with politicians in them. Hope you have a great holiday enjoy!!!

    • No doubt, Saun…it is something out of the past…it smacks of the ’50’s, though they do it every year…this year it looks like the theme is something like 100 years of history…I would love to go for that…I must admit it is something everyone should experience…it’s not Disney World or New York City…or even Little Rock…it IS small town Minnesota…and if that laid-back experience is what you want…well, it’s there…just refreshing…thanks…

  2. That’s wonderful Jim. Around here, there aren’t any 4th of July parades. Several of my family members live in a community here in Cincinnati that has a fireman’s festival at their park on the 4th. Then in the evening they have fireworks. It isn’t the big fireworks show like a lot of communities/cities put on but they’re very good. Everyone spends the early evening at the festival and then just opens their lawn chairs on the baseball field to watch the fireworks. Everyone knows everyone (almost) and it’s a lot of fun. I much more prefer the smaller “hometown” celebrations to the “big shows”.

    • Julie…those are all wonderful times…and I know there are fewer and fewer parades around…the cost money and communities have less of that to throw around…but it is so important not to forget what this day is for…our independence…still an experiment in the history of the world…and one that is worth fighting for and taking some time and money to remember and celebrate…glad to see you are still doing it…and I remember in the town we lived near in Minnesota…the fire department helped plan and put on a 4th of July parade…fireworks, etc…good stuff…and good to remember…have a good time this weekend…Happy 4th…

  3. I remember the small-town parades where I grew up. Thank you for bringing back some of the memories šŸ™‚


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