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Independence Day parade honors Bloomington roots


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Dressed in uniform, members of the Monroe County Veteran’s Honor Guard stepped off the curb onto West Kirkwood Avenue. Raising rifles into the air, the honor guard fired 21 shots into the air as the sound echoed off buildings in the downtown square.

Another Honor Guard softly played “Taps.”

Members of Boy Scouts Troop 100 approached carrying a large American Flag and, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, Bloomington’s Fourth of July Parade was
under way.

This year’s parade, hosted by Bloomington Parks and Recreation and Downtown Bloomington, Inc., recognized the vibrant community Bloomington has become over the past few decades, with the theme “Back to Bloomington — Show us your B-Town roots!”

Bloomington native and Honor Guard Lana Norman, an Army veteran, said the parade is a “celebration of our freedoms, our freedoms we’re losing, but freedoms that we initially didn’t have.”

“(The parade) is an enjoyable thing to do, but I don’t get as much honor out of it as I do burying our veterans,” Norman said. “That’s probably the most honorable thing I’ve done in my life, but I’m proud to be here.”

While the July 4 parade is intended to honor American Independence, Downtown Bloomington Inc. Director Talisha Toppock said the parade’s theme was designed to pay homage to members of the community.

Many of the floats did just that, she said, including Comprehensive Financial’s float, which both honored veterans and the Hays family, who have operated businesses in Bloomington for five generations.

For their effort, the Comprehensive Financial float received an award for most creative use of the theme.

“We go into everything hoping to win, and we actually won,” said David Hays, President of Comprehensive Financial.

“We actually made the trek all the way from Fourth Street and Indiana (Avenue) up here because I told my son ‘unless you assume you’re going to win something, you’re never going to win. So let’s go and assume we’re going to win something.’”

Unlike some of the floats, which were made with a personal touch, Hays said the Comprehensive Financial float was professionally designed.

“We were at the Indianapolis 500 and saw how wonderful those floats were. I said ‘if we ever do a float, I want it to be nice.’ I didn’t want it to be, as we call it in our family, hillbilly, and it wasn’t.”

From a float sponsored by the Bloomington Democratic Party with a cardboard cut-out of President Barack Obama to the float sponsored by the Republican Party, the parade highlighted the variety of people living within Bloomington.

While participants in the Move to Amend float carried signs that said “corporations are not people,” the Stafford Music Academy float read “music is the spirit of Bloomington.”

A man wearing a “Cutters” T-shirt handed small American Flags to the people lining the streets as floats drove by.

For four-year volunteer emcee Jim Inman, the parade was about bringing the community together.

“This is true Bloomington vibe, small-town USA,” Inman said. “It gets people to come to the Courthouse Square, fold out a blanket and have a good
old-fashioned parade.”

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Four-year-old Iain Phelps holds an American Flag Wedensday while watching the 4th of July Parade on N. Walnut St. Steph Aaronson Buy Photos
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Ashton, 5, and Reece, 1, sit with their mom, Amy Shalley and watch the 4th of July Parade on W. Kirkwood Ave. Steph Aaronson Buy Photos
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Two men, one in a Bill Clinton mask, the other in a Richard Nixon Mask, start kicking the car they were riding in during the 4th of July parade Wednesday on W. Kirkwood Ave. Steph Aaronson Buy Photos

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