Always Advocating Alan – Celebrating the Fourth of July and Baby’s Birthday While Helping Those in Need
The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a youngster growing up in Brooklyn, it was a time when I was ready to view the holiday parade coming down Ocean Parkway. When the last float passed by, I would go up to the solarium on the roof of our apartment building to witness a giant firework display over the ocean. Then after moving to the west coast, growing up and having children of my own, the Fourth of July became a ritual of boating trips to the Colorado River, water skiing, barbeques, and a fun-filled holiday weekend.
But through it all, while our family had a great time, something seemed to be missing. So, thinking about the meaning of Independence Day, I started taking the Fourth of July Holiday a bit more seriously by attending (and more often participating) in Santa Clarita’s Independence Day Parade in Newhall.
Looking back in time, I believe my vision on how to celebrate Independence Day matured in 2006. I had just retired and decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and ride to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day with the Vietnam Veterans, my wife and our two riding buddies. Motoring through the heartland of America and seeing the patriotism displayed by residents all across our great country made me stop and think about how I had been celebrating some of the most important days of the year.
Independence Day should not be just about barbeques, boating and parties; it should also be a time to reflect on the vision set forth by our Founding Fathers. We need to remember how fortunate we are to be Americans, and plan what we will need to do to assure our children will have the same freedom and benefits we enjoy, so they can pass them on to their children as well.
We must always remember how the lives of American citizens have been continually improved because of the words written in the United States Declaration of Independence, which states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We should also acknowledge how the citizenry of those times put themselves in harm’s way to establish a country with a vision like no other on the planet, and how each generation thereafter has joined in, when needed, to preserve our republic.
Today, I hear some people talk about when and where the United States has been involved in activities they do not believe is just or right. To them I say that our country is a work in progress, and while it is still not perfect, over my lifetime I have witnessed reduced discrimination of all forms, technology improving our daily lives in many different ways, and the implementation of instantaneous worldwide open communications.
Information is now disseminated in a manner where it has become very difficult to hide wrongdoing from the world’s population. I am optimistic we can continue down the right path if we remain able to speak our minds, hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, and continually look for ways for the country to improve. George Washington summed it up over 200 years ago by saying, “Your love of liberty, your respect for the laws, your habits of industry, and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness.” It is therefore most important to emulate our Founding Fathers and never give up our quest for freedom.
Now, I am not suggesting we get so serious that we cast aside any fun and good times that come with a celebration. This year on July 4, I will again be riding on the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center float, where our own “Dorothy Dixon Duck” will be “splishing and splashing in her bath” while reading a newspaper to commemorate the 1st Amendment, which provides our country with freedom of the press.
In addition, a little humor does not hurt either. So, I will not forget to bring my 7-pound, white, long haired, floppy eared, tail wagging family member named Baby, to the parade. Born on Independence Day in 2005, she will turn 98, (in dog years), and I will again enable her to view all those out to celebrate her birthday.
But this year, there is also a very serious situation in the news. On Friday, June 21, Jarheads MC, a group of active duty or honorably discharged Marines, FMF Corpsman and family members in New Hampshire were on their way to a charity fundraiser at a local American Legion Post, when a pickup truck towing a car trailer swerved onto the wrong side of the road directly into the group of motorcycle riders. Seven members of the group were killed and several more were severely injured.
It is very troubling for me to realize that men and women who volunteered to put their life on the line to defend our country would end up in heaven as a result of a senseless violent incident, right here at home. Gone from this life are Michael Ferazzi (Contoocook), Albert Mazza (Lee), Daniel Pereira (Riverside, RI), Jo-Ann and Edward Corr (Lakeville, MA), Desma Oakes (Concord), and Aaron Perry (Farmington). How sad that such a tragedy occurred.
As I am sure you might imagine, the families of those killed and injured need help. Jarheads MC set up a Go Fund Me page and there are several fundraisers being set up across the country. I am proud to reveal how Santa Clarita will be participating in helping those in need.
On Saturday July 6, A Memorial Ride will take place starting at the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge Parking lot, 17766 Sierra Highway, in Canyon Country. A meet-up will start a 9 a.m., riders and drivers Meeting at 10 a.m., with kickstands up and e-brakes off at 10:30 a.m. There will be no “Ride Fee” charged, standard donation collected, or prizes awarded. This event is being held solely to raise awareness and accept voluntary contributions to be sent directly to the victims and their families. Plus, you do not need to ride a motorcycle to join in, and you can choose how far to ride, or drive, with the group.
I hope to see you at the Fourth of July Parade in Newhall and the Memorial Ride on July 6. Join me in celebrating Independence Day by saluting the flag, right here in the land of the free and home of the brave.