The annual Fourth of July parade was held on Friday in Patriot, and beautiful weather brought out a large crowd to the only incorporated town in the country with such a patriotic name.
The parade began at the Patriot boat ramp and made its way west on Main Street, with a color guard of county veterans leading the way.
This year’s Grand Marshal was Vera McAlister, and her vehicle was followed by a wide range of participants, ranging from trucks from county volunteer fire departments and county children on bicycles decked out in red, white and blue.
The parade also featured many of the candidates in this November’s general election. With the Republicans and Democrats both fielding full slates of candidates, Friday’s parade gave all of the candidates the chance to greet potential voters.
Following the parade, the crowd moved to the Patriot Memorial Park, where the annual ceremony of the changing of the flags was held.
Mike Jones, pastor of Patriot Baptist Church, welcomed the crowd, and invited veterans in attendance to come forward and be honored by helping change out the flags in the park.
Steve McAlister, son of Parade Grand Marshal Vera McAlister, was given the honor of lowering and changing the large American Flag in the center of the park.
Tyler Brindley from Rising Sun played a song on the guitar, and bagpipe player Tom Pommerehn played patriotic selections as the old flags were lowered and retired; and then the new flags were raised into the beautiful July sky.
As the ceremony closed, red, white, and blue balloons were released.
The honor guard from the American Legion and VFW helped with the retired flags; and following the ceremony, many attendees moved to Harris Park, where a large pitch-in lunch was held; and everyone enjoyed games and inflatables and an afternoon of catching up with old friends and making new ones.