Town of Patriot celebrates 4th of July with parade, ceremony, picnic

446

Monday morning, July 4th, opened with some heavy rain through the nighttime hours and into the morning; but when the town of Patriot kicked off it’s annual Fourth of July parade at 11 a.m., the weather was perfect.

The only community in the nation named “Patriot”, members of the community came out in force on Monday to celebrate the country’s birthday and their place as American citizens.

They are, well, “Patriotic”.

After Vern Waltz turned the microphone over to Posey Township Trustee Joey Rider, who served as the master of ceremonies for the parade; a long line of entries traveled along Main Street through the main intersection of town before turning at the firehouse and continuing on to Harris Park.

Led by the color guard from VFW Post #5396, the parade featured all of the red, white, and blue pageantry that the holiday deserved. With residents dressed as Uncle Sam and a Revolutionary War soldier; many of the other parade attendees opted for patriotic dress to celebrate the day.

The parade was led by longtime Patriot resident and businessman Raymond Walcott, who is a veteran of World War II. He was followed by a bevy of firetrucks; and Switzerland County Sheriff Roy Leap was also up front in the procession. Horst Jahn and Cindy Kerr showed off their red, white, and blue balloons – which would later be released as part of the flag ceremony at the Memorial Park.

The “Loyal Order of Rednecks Lodge #01” was also prominent in Monday’s parade; and both the Republican and Democratic parties had floats and candidates handing out flyers and candy. State Representative Jud McMillin, who currently represents Patriot and Switzerland County, was in attendance, as was Randy Frye of Greensburg, the incumbent in the 67th district who will represent the county after the next election, if he is successful in his reelection bid.

U.S. Congressional candidates Lane Siekman of Rising Sun and Jim Crone of Hanover were also on the parade route, shaking hands.

A group of county 4-H members walked in the parade, promoting the upcoming fair, and a large number of children participated in the parade, riding scooters and bicycles and four wheelers and tractors. The Historic Hoosier Theater was represented, as were the “Swiss Hatters” of the Red Hat Society.

Also on hand were veterans organizations, including the Rising Sun American Legion Post; some of the congregation of Grant’s Creek Baptist Church; and there were also lots of horses – both in horsepower from motorcycle clubs; and true horse power with riders on horseback.

Once the parade ended, bagpiper Tom Pommerehn led the crowd to the Patriot Memorial Park, where Mike Jones, Patriot resident and President of the Switzerland County Council, as well as the pastor at Patriot Baptist Church, opened the flag ceremony with prayer.

Sisters Heather and Mary Turner of Patriot sang “The Star Spangled Banner”, and Mike Jones then asked for veterans in the crowd to come forward and help with the flag replacement ceremony. The Memorial Park features all of the flags that have flown over the nation; as well as the flags for all of the branches of service. The Indiana State Flag stands behind the gazebo; and at the center of the park is “Old Glory”, the current flag of the country.

At Monday’s ceremony the honor of taking down the old flag in the center of the park and replacing it was given to the family of Lowell Wayne Sullivan, one of the county’s leading advocates for veterans and leader in the American Legion before his passing earlier this year. Wife Rita Sullivan, along with sons Scott, Jason, and Tye brought down the flag; and as the new flag was raised, the red, white, and blue balloons of Horst Jahn and Cindy Kerr were released.

Once all of the remaining flags were replaced, Mike Jones led everyone in the “Pledge of Allegiance”, and then Parade Grand Marshal Raymond Walcott was honored with a plaque. State Representative Jud McMillin said a few words; and then everyone headed to Harris Park as bagpiper Tom Pommerehn played “Amazing Grace”.