Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July Celebration!

We had a lot of fun celebrating the 4th of July this year!

We spent the day with Grant's family and a group of our friends at Grant's Nannie's house.  For as long as I have been with Grant (14 years!!!), we have gone to Grant's family's big 4th of July picnic every year!

This year was bittersweet.  The 4th of July was Grant's dad's favorite holiday, and this was the first year without him.  I know Grant was dreading the day, but we made the most of it, and everybody had a good time!

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The kids played with their friends, the adults talked, and there was plenty of delicious food!

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Grant's dad was the mayor of his hometown for many years.  This year's 4th of July celebration, including the parade and fireworks, was in honor of him.   Every year for the past decade, Grant's dad, as mayor, rode in the parade. 

This year, Dylan represented the family!  He decided at the last minute to join his baseball league in the parade.  This left us scrambling.  Luckily, I thought ahead and brought his baseball shirt and hat.  As soon as we finished eating, Grant and Lily raced into town to meet Dylan at the end of the parade route, while Dylan and I ran to the parade lineup.  He made it in time, so I raced down to the street so I could join our family and friends to watch the parade.  This pregnant mama was tired after making that run in 90+ degree heat! But...we all made it!

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My sweet Lily slept through the entire parade!  She must have been really tired, considering tons of firetrucks and police cars, with sirens wailing, passed by without waking her up!  I felt bad that she missed the fun and excitement, but she needed a nap!

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After the parade ended, and everybody returned to the house, the picnic continued!

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Before long, it was getting dark, so it was time to head out to watch the town fireworks.  We always watch the fireworks from a hill on the edge of the cemetery.  This year, we had a big group of friends and family with us.  It rained while we were waiting for the fireworks to begin, but stopped just in time!

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This is the part where the day got very emotional.  As mayor, Grant's dad brought fireworks back into town.  He loved the 4th so much, worked hard to raise funds for the fireworks, and ultimately, succeeded.  He said it was his biggest accomplishment as mayor.

While he was sick, a neighbor spent days interviewing him about his life, and recorded the interview, which was an incredible gift.  Last year, the town didn't have fireworks because he was too sick to do the fundraising.  A bunch of people were able to do so this year, in honor of Dick. Before the fireworks began, a local radio station played the part of the interview about how he brought fireworks back to Mars, and then played music to go along with the fireworks show.

As his voice, a voice we hadn't heard in over 6 months, was heard on the radio, the tears began to fall.  After the interview ended, they did a 21 firework salute in honor of him.  In between the huge booms, there were seconds of silence.  The only sounds that filled the air were our sobs.  After the salute, the fireworks began.

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It was a perfectly beautiful way to honor his memory, and we are so thankful to those who worked so hard to achieve this.  He would have been so proud and honored! 

The family lingered behind after the fireworks ended, and we stopped by his grave for a few minutes.  We returned to the picnic, emotionally exhausted.  Even Dylan and Lexie were in tears.

We are so thankful for the friends that stayed behind and kept the day from becoming overly depressing.  We pulled out leftovers, ate, and talked into the wee hours of the morning!  Before we knew it, it was 1:30 AM, and time to head home!

We had so much fun celebrating our country with some of the people we love the most!!! Happy 4th of July!!!

20 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute! I'm sure you guys weren't the only ones crying as just hearing the story brought tears to my eyes!!

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  2. I bet that was a hard day. =( Wish I could give you guys a big ol hug.

    I love the kids outfits, so cute!

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  3. You were so smart to bring his baseball stuff along with you! Good thinking, mama. Everyone looked so cute all decked out, and you're adorable with baby!

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  4. These pictures are so sweet. I hope you guys were able to enjoy this bittersweet holiday.

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  5. Look at those two serious toddlers!
    Thank you for having us.

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  6. I L.O.V.E the 4th of July!! seriously one of my favorite holidays:) I'm also in love with the girls outfits. Adorable!

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  7. Looks like the kiddos had a lot of fun. Love the girls outfits. Cute pictures

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  8. What a beautiful salute to him. I'm crying reading this!
    I think Dylan is a little mini of your hubby!! That is a great family photo!

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  9. Such a nice tribute! Glad despite the sadness you still had fun!

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  10. I'm in love with your girls outfits!

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  11. Such an emotional day! Sounds like the town really honored your FIL in a special way.

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  12. It sounds like you guys had a great July 4th! I know it was a hard day for your family, but that was pretty awesome what the town went through to honor the memory of Grant's dad. Wow!

    You all look so cute...and I especially love the girls' outfits!

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  13. What a beautiful tribute to your father-in-law! It looks like everyone had a lot of fun! My good friend that lives in Mars always raves about the parade!

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  14. What a special tribute!! Looks like y'all had a great Holiday!

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  15. What a beautiful tribute to your father in law. You had me in tears. It's so sweet that Dylan decided to represent the family in the parade. I know he said/wrote that he was Dylan's hero. Very sweet boy you have there.

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  16. What a great tribute, I'm sure he was looking down so happy to see his legacy!!!

    And you look amazing!! The girls outfits are so cute too :)

    Kate @ Raising the Rogers

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  17. I can barely type through my tears at this post Stefanie! What a beautiful way to honour an amazing man!!
    Gorgeous pictures, you really captured the day and how cute are Lily and Charlie together? :)

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  18. What a beautiful way to honor Grant's dad's memory. I love all the red, white, and blue. What patriotism! Sometimes holidays can be hard after a loved one passes, but I'm so glad you all made it into something very special and memorable. XOXO.

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  19. SO cute! I am glad that you made the most of the day and ended up having a great time! I love all the pictures! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  20. Your family is so stinking cute! Love the group shot of you all!

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