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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Patriotic Fourth of July: Area residents enjoy parade, ceremony at Woodland Veterans Park

  • With most wearing a patriotic sea of red, white and blue and carrying American flags, a crowd gathered at Woodland Veterans Park in Shawnee Wednesday morning for a Fourth of July parade and ceremony at the Veterans Memorial.


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  • With most wearing a patriotic sea of red, white and blue and carrying American flags, a crowd gathered at Woodland Veterans Park in Shawnee Wednesday morning for a Fourth of July parade and ceremony at the Veterans Memorial.
    As the crowd assembled, all paused and stood silent as the National Anthem played before the program began.
    For many, the Fourth of July is about family, cookouts and fun. But on this day, residents were reminded about why they have freedoms they enjoy and were asked to honor members of the military and veterans, with many local veterans featured in the day’s parade.
    For Shawnee resident Diana Parker, Independence Day is about freedom and celebration while spending time with family.
    “It’s a tribute and we need to thank God for our freedom,” Parker said. “We are a blessed nation.”
    Wanda Deiss of Shawnee and her daughter, Rebecca Land, who were each proudly wearing T-shirts with American flag themes, visited the park to watch the parade and enjoy the ceremonies as part of a festive Fourth of July.
    Weiss’ late husband spent 20 years in the U.S. Marines, she said, so the Fourth has an even more special meaning.
    “He was very patriotic — he loved his country and loved his family,” Weiss said. “Today we think about the freedoms we have — some people just don’t have that and we should be glad for it.”
    Land agreed, adding everyone should be thankful for their freedom. Both said the Memorial was a perfect setting for the day’s events.
    During the ceremony, Shawnee Mayor-Elect Wes Mainord welcomed those in attendance and led them in singing “Happy Birthday” to America.
    Tony Litherland, Commander of the American Legion, also spoke to the crowd about American history and how each battle has meaning in securing America’s freedom and the life everyone enjoys today.
    “When a soldier steps in the gap and surrenders everything, he makes a difference that has deep ramifications for years,” Litherland said, encouraging the crowd to thank the many veterans in attendance.
    Litherland asked everyone to serve Shawnee, as well as Oklahoma, and the United States by volunteering and making a difference.
    Tom Lunney of Harrah, who served in the U.S. Marines, praised the festivities and said it’s good to celebrate Indepencence Day and honor the veterans.
    “A lot of people forget,” he said, adding that the U.S. is still in conflict.
    For Lunney, the Fourth is about being patriotic, spending time with family and enjoying a fireworks display.
    U.S. Army Veteran Jack Young of Shawnee said the Fourth of July is a very personal thing for him and many veterans, adding, “It’s something we feel.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Young said he wants young people to understand America’s history as a country and as a family.
    Rick and Kandi Nagel, and their children, Decklin, 11, and Mackenize, 1, of Norman, enjoyed the Fourth of July with family in Shawnee Saturday. Kandi Nagel, who is from Maud, said their family walked in the parade and were celebrating everything that the Fourth of July stands for.
    “We’re blessed for our country, freedom and everything our soldiers give us,” Kandi Nagel said.
    Rick Nagel said the Fourth is uniquely an American holiday to celebrate everything that’s great about America.
    And just like many Independence Day festivities, Wednesday’s event in the park included fun and a Fourth of July tradition — hot dogs.
     
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