(La Porte, IN) - When you're the state capital for a day, you might as well throw a party. That's just what La Porte did Sunday with its 4th of July Parade festivities.
Last year the celebration was canceled; earlier this year, its fate was uncertain, as the Jaycees stepped back from organizing it. But La Porte’s Kiwanis Club took the handoff and saw the event through its 75th year.
Indiana State Representative Jim Pressel summed up the day’s excitement. "To see so many people come out and celebrate, it kind of gives me goosebumps," he said just before the parade, "because we missed 2020, so now we have to make up for it. That's what we see today. People have got smiles on their faces. It's just an exciting day."
The festivities started in the morning at Plaza 618 with a Kids' Korner fun zone. Two A-10 Warthogs from Ft. Wayne's 122nd Fighter Wing flew over at 10:15. Other aircraft, including a medical helicopter, flew over during the parade, which began at 1:00.
Over 85 units paraded down Lincolnway. The lineup included all the necessary ingredients: classic cars, local businesses, beauty queens, marching bands, politicians, lots of American flags, and even Budweiser’s Clydesdale horses.
Up and down the parade route, people were brimming with pent-up patriotism, after missing out on a proper 4th of July last year. Bri Travis and Summer Logan of LaPorte said they were particularly proud of America's essential workers, from doctors and nurses to truck drivers and grocery clerks, who kept everything together during the pandemic.
Nick Pollock of Carpenters Local 1485 was thankful for the freedom that everyone enjoys to live and work they way they see fit. "Me personally," he said, "I get to join a trade union, so I get the good wages and the benefits. And that gives me the opportunity to raise my family the way I want to."
For local Democratic Party Chair Dr. Vidya Kora, America is all about decency. "As an immigrant who came from India over 35 years ago, I have felt that this is the most welcoming society," he said before Sunday's parade. Quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, Kora said, "America is great because America is good." He continued, "We need to continue to be good; we need to be the beacon of hope in this world. And we'll continue to be great."