Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pekin and the 4th of July

This time of the year brings about a sense of anticipation for me. Having spent my entire life in this little town, I can tell you that our "claim to fame" is the hosting the 'Oldest Consecutive Fourth of July Celebration in the United States'. Now... there have been those who have been around longer... but we are talking consecutive here... we haven't taken a break in something like 177 years!!! I find that to be pretty amazing.

I spent my junior high and high school days in the school's band program. Naturally, we marched at every parade...and that hasn't changed. Both Rachel and Carly have carried on the "band geek" tradition, and Carly will again march this year. Practices begin tomorrow night for the parade, and when that happens I begin to feel a sense of excitement...the 4th is almost here!

If you come for a 4th in Pekin, you might not get what all of the hub-bub is about. The parade lasts about an hour. It is filled to the brim with old cars, and horses. Candy is still thrown to the kids lining the streets. The queen candidates ride past on floats, or atop convertibles. The Prince and Princess candidates do the same. A few groups put together floats. It isn't much, but to the nearly 10,000 people who flood into town, it is important.... it is tradition!

Following the parade, which runs down main street, and then down Hwy. 60 over to the park, (and YES, we DO shut down Hwy. 60 for the entire hour!) those who have lined the street walk over to the Pekin Park, which was originally known as Gill's Grove. There are still those that picnic around the fringes of the park. Many go and grab a sandwich in the Shelter House, or a corndog from a vender. Most go to visit friends that they haven't seen since the last 4th.

You see... in Pekin, we still believe that being patriotic is important. We still open our festivities with the Pledge, a prayer and the National Anthem. We still feel a sense of pride at being able to live in this great nation. We still believe in "One Nation Under God". This homecomeing is is about remembering the past so that we can have a brighter future.

While there may be those of you reading this who aren't near Pekin... or Indiana for that matter...I encourage you begin looking forward to the 4th of July. I hope you will remember that it isn't just about getting the day off...or the fireworks displays...or the parades...or the cookout you might enjoy. This is a celebration of our freedom...our independence...and we must remember that we were given both by our founding fathers who were guided in their decisions by their belief in God! As we make decisions concerning our country and where it is being led, we need to prayerfully seek God's guidance. We must be in prayer that our political leaders will do the same!

And most importantly...don't forget to be in prayer for our men and women in service. We owe them a huge thank you. We will never be able to repay them for protecting not only our freedom but the freedom of those around the world.


Rach said...

ummm.... where's my picture?

Carl said...

You know i'm the FAVORITE!!!!!

Amy said...

na, I'm the favorite...LOL I just wasn't available for the photo..hehe

Maybe Mike and I will have to come check out this Pekin fourth of July thing this year, since we live to close to there now.