(La Porte, IN) - Monday’s 4th of July parade through downtown La Porte, as usual, provided an opportunity to witness a display of what makes America great: first responders, military veterans, marching bands, civic groups, and small businesses. Throw in some clowns and politicians, and the picture is complete.
The local Guardian Riders motorcycle group was in the parade, spreading a message of patriotism and civic responsibility.
About a dozen of them, mostly veterans, rode their motorcycles in the parade. One of the Riders, Dale Turner of La Porte, said freedom is more than just fun and games. “I’m a former Marine, ’70 to ’73,” he said, while waiting for the parade to start. “The 4th of July means a lot to all of us vets, I think. The shame of it is, so many people, so many kids, don’t even know what the 4th of July is actually all about. It’s not like a parade, just a place to get candy. It’s about our independence. I think that needs to be taught more in the schools.”
The Guardian Riders are known for their support of veterans’ causes. They specialize in doing construction projects, like handicapped ramps, for the elderly.
And there was a hidden gym in Monday's 4th of July Parade. A real life Indian chief.
Dressed in a sleeveless American flag t-shirt and full Apache war bonnet, Dion Ortiz stood out in the crowd. “I’m a chief of Apache Nation out here in northwest Indiana,” he explained. “I represent the Chiricahua from down in Arizona and New Mexico. We have plenty of tribes down there. But up here, I’ve got almost 500 under me in northwest Indiana and the Chicago area.”
Ortiz says he was born and raised in East Chicago. But he calls La Porte home now. He was walking in the parade with the American Legion Post 83.
The theme of this year’s parade was “America Proud. La Porte Proud.” It was an event to highlight the best of who we are as Americans and hopefully reflect deeply on what it means to be an American.