Patriot Parade: celebrating the 4th of July in the country’s most patriotic place

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The 4th of July brought some early morning rain to parts of Switzerland County, but the rain stayed away from the Town of Patriot, which again hosted its Independence Day Parade and celebration in the only incorporated town in the country named ‘Patriot’.

The parade line up began at the boat docks; and at 11 a.m. the parade participants began rolling through downtown, led by the Color Guard of the American Legion and VFW; and followed by this year’s parade Grand Marshal, Kathryn Gurley Turner.

A wide variety of floats dotted the parade route, much to the delight of the crowded streets of spectators. The Switzerland County Republican Party had a float; as did Patriot Baptist Church and the Posey Pioneers 4-H Club.

There were little league teams; classic cars and trucks; and scores of young people riding everything bicycles to four-wheelers to a Segway. Switzerland County Sheriff Nathan Hughes was in the parade; and his deputies helped control traffic, keeping the event safe for everyone.

Of course there was plenty of candy for gleeful children along the route, as well as American Flags for everyone.

At the conclusion of the parade, the crowd headed to Patriot Memorial Park, where Mike Jones served as the emcee for the ceremonies and the official changing of the flags. The park has had a facelift thanks to the efforts of the Patriot-Posey Park Board and the Patriot Town Board, and everything was in place for the day. Jones told of the history of the parade and the community; and American Legion Ninth District Commander Roger Hilligoss led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jones then invited veterans and members of the military to come and assist with the retiring of the old flags and the raising of the new ones; led by the American Legion Color Guard changing the large American Flag that graces the central point of the park.

Once the flags were raised and red, white, and blue balloons were released; everyone joined in for the singing of “God Bless America”, and Jones then recognized Kathryn Gurley Turner, the Parade Grand Marshal, presenting her with a plaque in honor of the day. Jones also gave special honor to Patriot residents Wayne and Kathy Turner, who have spent many years dedicated to the betterment of the community.

With the Park ceremony finished, everyone then headed across the street to Harris Park, where a large pitch-in dinner was enjoyed; and the kids had a great day of fun playing on a series of inflatables.