From The Arizona Daily Sun
Showing the colors of
By 9 a.m., the length of Elm Avenue was packed with
trucks, floats, marching bands, belly dancers, motorcycles and canine corps,
all waiting anxiously for the start of Flagstaff's 10th annual Fourth of July
Parade, quite possibly the most popular parade in northern Arizona.
Participants came to show off wares, enlist financial and moral backing for
causes and to just celebrate the birth of our country's independence from
England. They also came to show support for U.S. military forces fighting
REACHING OUT TO THOSE SERVING
"We're collecting funds and products to send to service women posted to duty
in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Sharon Kennick, 52, who represented Service
Women's Relief Project, a first-time participant in the parade. "The most
requested item by service women overseas is feminine hygiene products --
tampons. They don't have a reliable source."
Kennick, whose son is a Marine just back from Iraq, joined forces with friend
Kris Naylor, 39, to start the nonprofit and help serving women.
Helping women in the military get basic hygiene products is not political, she
said, and patriotism shouldn't be either.
"To me, patriotism is the love, support and respect for the immense diversity
that we enjoy in the United States," Kennick said. "I don't think we've come
away from that as people, but I think that political expediency and
partisanship is dividing us into camps."
Her friend Naylor agreed.
"I think the general population still feels what this nation was founded on;
we still feel that in the core of ourselves," she said.
The relief project entry was next to the MANA (Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force)
truck. This group serves military personnel and their families.
Kathleen Jones, 49, has a son, Mike Jones Jr., who is
currently serving in Iraq, after duty in Afghanistan.
"We're following in the paths that were already set by those who served to
keep our country safe and to protect its freedom, so our grandkids don't have
to live in fear," she said.
Jones said MANA wants to get the word out to the Flagstaff community about how
many of its own are deployed and serving in the military.
"We have about 300 local men and women in the armed forces," said her husband,
Mike Jones Sr., 52. "It's a real tragedy, with the National Guard and the
Reserves, that there isn't more support. These are our neighbors."
BEING A PATRIOT TODAY
Tyler Goode, 15, and Jena Gustafson, 14, were ready to sit in the back of the
Konga Juice truck and pass out $1-off coupons for smoothies. They work at the
juice store in the Flagstaff Mall and wanted people to know about this
relatively new business.
They had not forgotten their patriotism in their excitement to sell juices.
"I'm glad I'm an American," said Tyler, a student at Sinagua High School. "I
think our country is beautiful -- like countryside beautiful."
Jena will be entering Coconino High School in the fall.
"To be a patriot means I'm glad that today we became independent from everyone
else, and it's just the best -- we're free" she said. "We don't have to be
brought down by any other place. It's just our own thing."
Re-enactors from the American Revolution marched
sharply down San Francisco Street. Leading them is General George Washington,
who, on July 3, 1775, has just taken over command of the Continental Army in
the fight against England.
"At that time he was only 43," said Scott of Scottsdale, who played the role
of Washington. "He served as commander in chief for eight years, without pay."
Washington/Scott raised his saber above his head in salute to the crowds
lining both sidewalks.
"A cheer for the United States!" he exclaimed. "Are there trusty young lads
who will join us to defeat Cornwallis?"
The general, who said he stopped counting his age at 200 years, had strong
beliefs about patriotism:
"To be a patriot means to be unselfish. It means to do what is best for the
whole ... A gentleman always has as a priority service to his family, to his
community, to his country. We all have talents. We all have knowledge. We all
have resources which we can use to better life for everyone."
STANDING UP FOR COUNTRY
Governor Janet Napolitano rode atop an official vehicle, waved to crowds below
and answered this reporter's question about patriotism.
"Patriotism -- I think it means standing up for your country and contributing
to your country," she shouted.
Deb Hill, a member of the County Board of Supervisors from District Four, put
bubble gum in the outreached hands of children watching the parade.
"Being a patriot today is the same as it always was, which is that we believe
in our country, and we believe in our democracy," Hill said. "But, we're
Americans, so we support that -- thoughtfully. I think we have this illusion
that in years past, patriotism meant something else. If you look at history,
even the Founding Fathers debated over how our country was going to be set
Spectators applauded loudly as Navajo veterans in the Post 112 color guard
from Tuba City marched downtown. They were led by retired Staff Sgt. George
Kee, 70, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years and fought for three
years in the Vietnam War.
"Freedom, that's it," he said. "It's freedom to be in the United States as
whatever you have to do. You don't have to be watchful for Communism and
Larry O'Daniel, 63, pushed a shopping cart down the street at the head of the
Northland Cares Flagstaff float, a nonprofit that helps people living with
"Today is to give honor to the men and women who are fighting for us right
now," he said. "They should be with us. I hope, somehow, they can see all
across the country that we're here, doing this in honor of them. We wouldn't
be doing this if it weren't for them and all the others who have fought and