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Prepare for the best

Gary Lindstrom

I think this Fourth of July will be different. First of all, a few thousand people who celebrated with us last year are no longer around. Regardless of your thoughts on the subject, the Fourth of July this year is different.

I grew up in a red, white and blue all-American town in Iowa. We celebrated the Fourth of July along with the Calhoun County Fair and Golden Buckle Day each summer. Lots of parades, events, carnivals, and hot summer nights. All sandwiched between Memorial Day, (we called it Decoration Day) and Labor Day.

My hometown of Rockwell City is still known as “The Golden Buckle on the Corn Belt.” How exciting. Hey, you had to be there.

It seemed like all of these holidays melded themselves into one long summer event.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars would march along with the Am Vets, American Veterans. There was a statue in the Town Square of a Civil War soldier. An entire wall on the appliance store listed the names of the local citizens who served in World War II. I remember standing there looking up my dad’s name and my uncle’s.

Lots of reasons to be proud. Good reasons to know that I was growing up in the very best town in the very best state in the very best country in the world. There was no question.

I left there 42 years ago. I had decided very early to go into the military. I had heard all the stories, adventures from my family and neighbors, and felt that was the only path to take. To serve my country and pay it back for some of the wonderful things my country had done for me.

Since then, I have celebrated the Fourth of July all over the world. I have watched fireworks over the East River in New York City. I have seen parades in downtown Macon, Ga. I have spent the day with my friends in England, France and Germany explaining the meaning and history of the day.

I have spent many of the past 28 years watching the fireworks over Lake Dillon. Not this year. That is sad, but necessary. Better suffer the short-term loss without the risk of the long-term damage.

I have lived in Summit County longer than I have lived anywhere else. My wife and two of my children are native Coloradans. The kids grew up in Summit County. This is their hometown.

Summit County really knows how to celebrate the Fourth of July with or without fireworks. Three great parades. Lots of food and entertainment. More things to do than you could ever accomplish in any one day.

People you have not seen for a long time suddenly appear on the sidewalk on Main Street, Frisco. Instant reunions and memories of nearly three decades. Some people I have arrested and then gotten to know as they languished in the Summit County Jail. Others are family members of people who were my clients when I was coroner. Now, there is a bond you will never forget. The person who told you your loved one or friend has died. Big hugs and sometimes tears remembering the past.

Yes, I am prejudiced and biased. Summit County is the very best place to be on the Fourth of July. It is like no other place on this earth including “Field of Dreams” Iowa.

We are so blessed to have all of this right out our front door. Pity the poor people who have to get in their cars, leave Summit County and go home when it is all over.

Gary Lindstrom is a Summit County commissioner and regular columnist for the Summit Daily News.


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