Lubbock knows how to do July 4th.
There was lots to see in the parade, including classic vehicles, horses, first responder trucks and decorated trailers. Plus there were performances by various martial arts groups, the Lubbock ISD marching band and dance groups. And the street sweepers, don’t forget the street sweepers.
There were also lots of people to see. Following Delbert and Carolyn McDougal, who were the parade marshals, came U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, Mayor Dan Pope, members of the Lubbock City Council, state Rep. Dustin Burrows and many business owners. The Lubbock County Democratic Party welcomed U.S. Senate candidate and current U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke from El Paso, as well as U.S. House candidates in 2018 Dan Epstein and Miguel Levario.
Kids hunted for candy as sounds from the different floats provided an earful.
Lubbock resident Delfino Cruz said after the parade that he and family gather together each year at the Lubbock festivities, and said the citizens of Lubbock do a great job of celebrating the country’s independence.
There were standing ovations as veterans groups came by. For many, this is what July 4th is about.
“I thought this was the greatest thing, when I was coming in this morning I had a little boy come up and salute me,” said Jose Salinas III, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Group Unit 6. “Of course I stopped and I saluted him. I thought that was the utmost respect that I could get.”
Salinas was with other members of the VFW Motorcycle Group at Mackenzie Park selling T-shirts to raise money for the annual honor flight. Salinas said he served in the military for 10 years before being injured by a sniper, but he said on Tuesday he’s thinking about the young men and women who are serving now.
“It’s an honor for us to do what we do. We don’t do it for the pay, we don’t do it for the glory, we do it for our country,” said Salinas. “On Independence Day I always think about our active military who are still out there who don’t get to do barbecues but have to eat the ready-to-eat meals out of a brown plastic bag.”
It’s the barbecues and family time that many citizens of Lubbock enjoy, including Christi Hollins, who was with her family at Mackenzie Park.
“Just hanging with family and grilling,” Hollins said of her plans for Tuesday. “It’s a time to get with family.”
The celebration at the park also featured a few new attractions this year, including catfish- and cobbler-eating contests and a fishing competition.
U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington walked along the parade route waving a flag and shaking hands. This was his first parade as the representative of the district, and Arrington said he couldn’t help but think over and over how grateful he was.
“We need Independence Day for a lot of reasons — to remember what made this democracy so unique and so lasting,” Arrington said. “There’s never been anything like it in the history of the world. It’s good for the next generation to ask why we shoot fireworks off and why we parade in the streets and cook out with friends. This experiment wasn’t an accident, it required sacrifice.”
Arrington said Independence Day is also a day to come together, and he said that’s why he wasn’t walking near any of the political floats or wearing any Republican logos. He said he introduced himself throughout the day as an American and as the representative of the district, not as a Republican congressman.
Citing President Ronald Reagan, he said freedom isn’t passed to our children in the bloodstream. It has to be fought for, protected and handed over to them.
Jarvis Metals and USPS named parade winners
Jarvis Metals and the United States Postal Service each won first place for the best floats in the 27th annual Fourth on Broadway Sonic Parade.
Jarvis Metals won in the commercial category, and USPS won in the non-commercial category. The winners were announced Tuesday afternoon by Broadway Festivals.
The first-place commercial winner received 20 premier wristbands for the Covenant Health/First Bank &Trust Star Spangled Evening Concert along with 12 parking passes. The first-place prize in the non-commercial group received $500.
Coming in second and third place in the commercial category were Camping World and Bright Star, respectively. And the All-Lubbock Band and Roosevelt High School Cheer came in second and third place in the non-commercial category.