Happy 4th of July!
The celebrations for our nation’s 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence soon will be underway with parades, picnics, and patriotic observances. No holiday is more American than the 4th of July, as the traditional summertime celebrations draw neighbors and friends together to commemorate the many freedoms we enjoy in the United States.
Mason District neighborhoods have some traditions for the 4th that go back decades. Lee Boulevard Heights, tucked away near Seven Corners, has hosted a walking parade and picnic for more than 40 years. A few years ago, the parade was fairly small, as children grew up and the original families moved away. Today, the neighborhood is teeming with children, who participate in the parade on bicycles and tricycles, in little red wagons and on foot. Each child receives a participation award, to the delight of parents and visitors. It’s a great time!
In Broyhill Crest, a maturing suburb in Annandale, the children parade around the Broyhill Crest pool in decorated bikes, trikes, and strollers. Each “vehicle” carries a paper plate with a number on it, and local elected officials have the unenviable task of judging first, second and third place winners in each of several categories. Most times, the judges ask for the children to parade twice, just so we can be sure of their plate number and make informed decisions about the winners. After several years, some of the former toddlers in strollers are now handsome youth on bicycles, or even lifeguards!
The annual Lake Barcroft parade can rival that of Fairfax City. Decorated cars, floats, a marching band (or portion of one), and the Lake Barcroft Ladies Kazoo Band travel quite a long way through the leafy neighborhood, to the applause of neighbors on front porches and along the street. Ice cream and cold drinks await the revelers at the end of the parade, which also features a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
These three neighborhood events are joined by hundreds and thousands of others across the country, celebrating freedom, fellowship, safety, and security that only America can claim.
Whether the red, white, and blue activities feature traditional march music, potato salad, and hamburgers, or are touched with a bit of salsa, kimchee, or curry, our very diversity is celebrated, and punctuated, by an American 4th of July.
May we always remember, and may we always be thankful.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at [email protected]