Families came in by the droves to view the parade and fireworks on display at Murphy Park, and they were not disappointed.
Thursday, July 4, marked the celebration of independence for the country, and much like cities across the United States, Taylor had its own display of fireworks at night, with a parade during the day.
The parade was adorned with dozens of memorable cars and floats. Members of city council, chamber of commerce and local businesses like The Texas Beer Company drove the cars. Other cars were driven by local veterans.
The cars, much like their drivers, were decked out in festive decoration, and showed off the love of their country. Red, white and blue paint, feathers and flags were just a few of the many materials used to design cars and floats, and were on full display for local spectators to marvel at and enjoy.
One of those spectators was Truman Oliver. He felt that Fourth of July is an opportunity to celebrate all of the wonderful things we have accomplished in the country, in addition to freedom.
After being in Taylor for three years, he loves the small town feel and the excitement people feel during special holidays like the Fourth.
“You go to a big city and no one knows anybody,” he said. “Here, most of everybody know everybody, or knows somebody. It’s just a lot more fun in a small town.”
He also likes the fact that citizens are able to keep in touch with city council. A councilman that he knows in particular is Vice Commander of American Legion Post 39, Dwayne Ariola. A connection that they share is the fact that they’re both veterans who served in the submarines. These veterans are hard rare to find.
“Very few people have been on submarines, so anytime you meet someone that was, you get excited because it’s a rare opportunity,” he said. “You experience things that other people never experience. It doesn’t matter what submarine you were on, there are certain things like being away from family or not feeling the sun and wind for months at a time that you sacrifice.”
Those sacrifices did feel like scarifies at the time, according to Oliver, but he would do it all again if given the opportunity.
Ariola agreed that there were many experiences he shared that were sacrifices not a lot of people know about.
“The longest I served was 52 days,” he said. “52 days with no sun is different, and once you close those hatches, there's no sun, so you lose color fast. You run out of fresh vegetables to first week, cause there’s a lot of storage and it doesn’t keep. Your diet is very limited, and you eat a lot of canned food. You can’t call anyone and you’re pretty much isolated.”
Ariola served a Chief of the Boat while in the submarine, and said that he felt sometimes people take for granted to freedoms that Americans have.
“People in South American have to grow their own stuff,” he said. They don’t have running water or a phone. In this country, we have all those things, and it’s protected.”
He hopes the city of Taylor knows that the American Legion is here for them, and they are a community service organization. Next, they hope to update the bathrooms to make them ADA compliant.
“The American Legion has been in this community forever,” he said. “We’re a non-profit and we’re all about the community.”