Independence Day had an early start at Sparks Marina Park, where picnickers and water-lovers set up umbrellas and lawn chairs to enjoy a beautiful day off.
Best friends James Wischmeier and Kenneth Charles Erikson were "hanging out" on their patch of grass, with the red white & blue stovepipe hats they bought just for the holiday. They paid $6 apiece, with money left over for a boat ride on the lake. Otherwise, the day is wonderfully wide open. Kenneth, who's 16, told us, "Today is just me and my friend hangin' out and chillin." The plan? "Just have fun, chill with my friends."
U.S. Navy veteran Fred Cornelius had a more serious reason for coming out. He and his friends, all war vets, brought all the battle mementos they could gather, from an AK-47 to the M-14...signs of sacrifices made by the soldiers who once held them. Fred told us, "A lot of these things people never see. They can actually look at it. With permission they can touch it." What do they say when they do that? "Oh they're surprised. Number one, it's too heavy. You know there's always some comment like that. They don't realize what these guys in uniform have to carry every day."
Reminders to those who passed by...of how we got here, and how we stayed free and independent. Fred is coming back next year, "Because a lot of people have fought and died so...we could do this. And I think it's important to continue the tradition."
Across the way, it's not a day off for Angela Johnson. We waited....and waited....until there was a break in the line on a hot day for ice cold lemonade. She brought "3 cases of lemons. That is about 500 lemons."
And in the shade we found Kathleen Lucich, grateful for a good life in the U.S.A. She retired from the forest service after 37 years just last month…finally relaxed. "Things have mellowed a little bit, yes."
And so there you are…so many reasons why people came out today, but coming together as a community should. The best reason to celebrate? We'll let Kathy have the last word on that. She told us, "We're darn lucky to have been born where we're at, and to have the lives that we have."
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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