Monday's Independence Day parade through downtown Marietta celebrated both the patriots who fought for America's independence more than 230 years ago and a local soldier recently wounded in the line of duty.
"Our goal is to honor our patriot ancestors through events like this," said Dick McAllister, color guard commander for the Marietta Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, who led the parade. "That war, unlike any other war we ever fought in, had everybody's property and everybody's lives on the block.
"We want to honor that (courage and sacrifice) every day, but especially today," he said.
The Marietta High School Wall of Sound performs in Marietta's Independence Day parade.
The courage and sacrifice of U.S. Army Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, a 19-year-old Reno resident, were also recognized as a group of more than a dozen friends and classmates wearing matching shirts and carrying a banner bearing his picture walked the route. Hockenberry lost both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow after an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on a foot patrol June 15 in Afghanistan.
Dart resident Joey Warren, 19, a classmate of Hockenberry's at Frontier High School, said the group also marched in the Newport Volunteer Fire Department ice cream social parade over the weekend "to show our support and love for him."
While Monday's parade was shorter than Marietta's Memorial Day procession, a few hundred people lined the route from Fourth and Butler streets to Front Street by way of Putnam and Second. James Rhodes, commander of AMVETS Post 1788, the parade organizer, said he was pleased with the crowd turnout and participation in the parade.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Williamstown resident Rebecca Dimit, left, and her son J.J., 4, wave at fire trucks during Marietta’s Independence Day parade on Monday as her husband Brad and daughter Lacey, 6, watch. More photos from this event are available online at cu.mariettatimes.com
"We call that one the people's parade," he said, noting it was open to anyone, even kids with decorated bicycles. "You want to go, we'll put you in there."
Rhodes was especially pleased to have the Marietta High School Wall of Sound marching in the parade for the first time in several years, as well as trucks from fire departments outside the city.
McAllister said Sons of the American Revolution members plan to reach out to AMVETS to assist with next year's parade, which Rhodes said the group would welcome. McAllister said he would like to see more units in the parade and more people turning out to watch.
By the numbers
* 2.5 million - In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
* 311.7 million - The nation's estimated population on this July Fourth.
"Everybody in Marietta ought to be down here," said McAllister, noting the city's rich history relating to the Revolutionary War.
Mound Cemetery is the final resting place of more Revolutionary War officers than any other graveyard in the U.S. Gen. James Mitchell Varnum, who commanded the first black regiment in America, is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
While the historical and patriotic significance of the day drew many spectators, some of the younger ones were more interested in the fire trucks and candy.
"They were talking about candy before we even got down here," said Brian Catalona, 37, of Marietta, watching along Front Street with his sons Adam, 7, and Sean, 5.
Williamstown resident Lacey Dimit, 6, was a fan of the Wall of Sound's color guard.
"I liked the girls that had the flags," she said.
Also joining in the parade were local politicians, Shriners and supporters of BrAva, a newly formed group seeking to raise awareness about childhood cancer.
The name is a combination of two local children - Bridget Crock of Marietta and Ava Nichols of Waterford - whose battles with the disease have caught the attention of many in Washington County. Members marched in the parade to promote their inaugural 5K Run/Walk on Sept. 24, with proceeds going to support research as well as a local family affected by childhood cancer.
"I think it touches the community's heart too. They follow these stories," said Marietta resident Kayla Mitchell, a member of the group.
In addition to the race, the day will include family activities, games, music and more, said Elizabeth Ault, a BrAva committee member.
More information is available on Facebook by searching BrAva Fight.