Flags, patriotism soar this year
SUMMIT COUNTY – Independence Day had a new, perhaps deeper, meaning this year for many people across the country and in Summit County.
“I’ve always been pretty patriotic, but I think as a result of 9-11, I think it gives us another opportunity to be even more patriotic,” said Tom Callahan of Boston.
Callahan flew out of Boston the morning of the terrorist attacks and was in the air when a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon. Since then, he said, he’s seen a surge in patriotism – something he hasn’t seen since the Kennedy era.
“It’s real nice,” he said.
Flags were flying on flagpoles in front of houses and on cars Thursday in celebration of the nation’s independence – similar to the first few months after Sept. 11. Many people around the county wore “God Bless America” T-shirts or their own combination of red, white and blue.
Tom Callahan’s wife, Ellie, grew up the ’60s and ’70s, a time of political unrest.
“This is the first time in my life that I ever felt that deep seated love for my country,” Ellie Callahan said. “I’ve become fiercely patriotic (since Sept. 11.)”
“I think after 9-11 you start appreciating everything a little bit more, and realize how good you have it,” said Frank Mayo of Denver.
Jerry Hedlund, of Dayton, Minn., is a Vietnam veteran. While he said he’s always been patriotic, he said those feelings have intensified since Sept. 11.
“This country means everything to me,” Hedlund said. “I’ve been around the world, and I would fight for this country anytime I’m needed.”
Copper resident Bernie Bovee agreed. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II and Korea.
“It renews the feelings we’ve had for years,” Bovee said.
Sharon Young, of Westminster, said this Fourth of July celebration not only reverberates with a refreshed patriotism, but also with a sense of community.
“I think not only with Sept. 11 but the fires in this area,” she said. “It was good to see people pulling together. There is more cause to celebrate.”
Charlie Thomas of Silverthorne agreed though, as an ex-Marine and a Vietnam veteran, he said patriotism has always played a big part in his family.
“I have more of a heart for (July 4) than previous years,” Thomas said, who watched his daughters march in the Frisco parade. “It touched my heart.”
Earlier this week, President Bush told Americans they should be “joyous in their celebration” this Independence Day and “celebrate the fact that we’re fortunate enough to be Americans.” In Summit County Thursday, locals and visitors took his advice – by cheering and celebrating their country, freedom and community.
Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or email@example.com
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