Jul 05 2008
It doesn’t matter what day of the week the 4th of July falls on. What you can always be sure of is that it will always be boiling hot, look like rain, and that there will be absolutely, positively, the longest 4th of July parade in history. That parade is in Whiting, Indiana.
This year, with the help of the Hammond Parks Foundation, we entered one of our green trucks in the parade. Meagan McCormick, along with Tim and Rachel Vaught, helped us decorate our vehicle for a good forty-five minutes or so in the most patriotic-schemed way that we could. Joshua Innes, Dave’s 12 year-old son, helped out too – adding some corny one-liners in the process. You can be sure that the apple does not fall too far from the tree.
In between the ribbons, flags, Statue of Liberty images, and rolls and rolls of all the magic transparent tape, we tried to stay cool by drinking bottles of water. Finally, we were all very pleased with the way our vehicle looked. Dave Innes went over to the Calumet Clowns’ float – thinking that he had been invited to his own family reunion. Breathing a big sigh of relief, we were told by one of the parade workers, “Oh, by the way! You guys are number 101!”.
After the parade, it’s always a tradition to end the 4th of July with the great festivities at historic Harrison Park. The Naturalization ceremony, welcoming dozens of new Americans as they proudly take their oath of citizenship, is always a sight to behold. A prestigious event such as this makes all of us remember – and appreciate – the many freedoms and opportunities we have in this great country of ours, things that we, unfortunately, too often take for granted.
Bill Porter, and his orchestra, rounded out the evening with some Big Band/Swing music. Bill plays the trombone and conducts the orchestra. In fact, he was one of the original members of Bozo’s Big Top Band. He has accompanied some legendary singers like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Nat King Cole. He told Dave Innes many years ago that when he first met Frank Sinatra, it was Sinatra that actually saved Bill’s life.
The patented “Bill Porter” story goes like this: “I was putting my horn in the trunk after a late night gig,” Porter explained. “All of a sudden, ten guys came out of nowhere and jumped me. They kicked me, punched me, and threw me down to the pavement. After a few seconds, Sinatra opened the stage door and said, ‘All right, boys! That’s enough!’”
Harrison Park’s fireworks were awesome! Accompanied by some beautifully performed patriotic tunes, our skies were lit up with sparkles of true Americana!
Leroy Harwell, Jr.
Director of Recreation
Assistant Director of Recreation