SUNBURY, Ohio — Quintessential “small town” Ohio, the Village of Sunbury celebrates every Independence Day by honoring faith, family and the veterans who gave us freedom.
The morning began with dense fog and by parade time at 10 a.m. the temperature was in the low 70s and cloudy. Just right for an hour-plus long parade.
Glenn and Donna Evans presided over the event. They have organized the parade for 30 years; Glenn has been “the voice” for 35. This year was their last – and it was one for the memory books.
Eric Johnston was asked to sing the anthem. He had a career in opera that spanned two decades – including performances in Carnegie Hall. After his introduction, Johnston turned the focus towards the Evans.
“Every year Donna has tried to bring a new and exciting element to the parade. The Freedom Train to carry our vets, the Columbus Saints Drum and Bugle Corps and the Army Reserve Band,” Johnston exclaimed. “When asked, Donna shared her favorite parade moment. Hands down it was the year the Army Reserve Band led our World War II veterans; a close second was the year our Vietnam Vets were honored.”
Veterans have always been a key component of every Fourth of July Parade in Sunbury. This year was no exception. Starting with Sunbury’s own American Legion Post 457 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8736, the military was well represented – every branch, every war from WWII to the War on Terror.
Howard Mosley, the lone WWII vet, is 94 years old. His grandson Ethan drove him in Howard’s 1944 Willys MB Jeep. Ethan is a 1st lieutenant in the United States Army. He just returned from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan where he earned the Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Also in the parade this year was U.S. Army Veteran Nathan Norris. Norris is local boy who graduated from Sunbury’s Big Walnut High School. While serving in the 101st Airborne as an M60 machine gunner during the Gulf War, Norris’s behavior was so exemplary that he has been nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Politicians, local churches, the marching band, kings and queens, cheerleaders, football players, new and old tractors, antique cars, 4-H clubs celebrating 100 years in Delaware County, businesses, girl scouts and boy scouts, the Sunbury Lions Club, Fire Departments, horses – all were in the parade, decked out in red, white and blue to celebrate the country’s 242nd birthday.
After the parade the village hosted children’s games, a petting zoo, a hot dog eating contest – the winner ate 10 – and an outhouse race on the village square. Fireworks capped the evening. But the parade is always the biggest draw.
The last “most memorable moment” shared was from Glenn Evans. It occurred several years ago when a thunderstorm broke out in the middle of the parade, causing everyone to flee. It was a very rare occasion, because family and friends believe Donna has a direct line to God, always asking for the perfect weather for parade day. Before the end of the parade this Independence Day, the sun came out. Donna’s request was granted.
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