Mild temperatures and a brilliantly blue sky greeted the crowds of people that participated in and witnessed Bellville’s July Fourth Liberty Festival last week. A parade along Main Street and a ceremony held at the Village Bandstand, commemorating the historic signing of the Declaration of Independence, was held in observance of the National Holiday.
Master of Ceremony Tammy Hubb, commander of the William O. Naylor AMVETS Post No. 43, welcomed the grand marshals as the parade stepped off at 11 a.m.
For the first time this year, Women Veterans from the Clear Fork Valley were honored for their service as they acted as the parade grand marshals; among them were WWII Veterans Candy Braham and Jean Dill. Dill and Braham were joined by Catherin Burrows, Margory Jasinski, Ruth Hennessey, Ann Marksbury, Tammy Bowen, Tammy Hubb and Terry Grimmett.
At the end of the parade, Mayor Darrell Banks took the podium. He opened the ceremony asking those who gathered near the Bandstand to take part in a moment of silence in memory of Ed “Spanky” Van Houten.
Van Houten, who had passed away earlier in the year, was credited by the Mayor as having played a big part in the success of the annual event known as the Liberty Fest. Members of the Clear Fork High School Marching Band played the United States National Anthem. And Kyle Catlett State Commander of the Sons of the American Legion were on hand to lead the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Banks then thanked the Sons of the American Legion Squadron no. 535. and the Village for making the event a success.
The Mayor shared his remarks concerning why we celebrate the Fourth of July.
“On July 4, 1776, a brave group of men gathered in Philadelphia to proclaim they were endowed with rights…these men and their equally brave wives… realized they risked everything for the idea that “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” observed Banks.
In 1976, 13 American colonies declared independence from Great Britain with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams, the Nation’s second president (1797-1801), led the effort to form a new nation, that would eventually become known as the United States of America, a Nation independent from the rule of the British Empire.
“Knowing the risks and struggles that were ahead they signed the document, and fought for their liberty—and for yours for seven long and bloody years,” said Banks.
Hubbs then announced the winners of the trophies. A complete list of those entries in the parade that won trophies was not available at press time.
Members of the American Legion Post no. 535 offered a firing-squad salute to fallen Veterans.
Members of the Bellville Lion’s Club were on hand following the ceremony. Led by newly elected club president, Lion Bill Henderson, they opened their food truck near the Jefferson Township building to serve sandwiches and beverages to the crowd.