Kailua, Hawaii --
Clear skies and warm temperatures accompanied patrons attending the Fourth of July parade in Kailua commemorating the nation’s independence 237 years ago. Service members, their families and Kailua residents celebrated, by cheering as the parade participants marched on, July 4, 2013.
Red, white and blue were represented in full force, adorned in multiple ways, from flags in all sizes to outfits and painted faces.
Roger and Kathy Allen, residents of the Island of Molokai attended the parade because of their personal history with the Kailua celebration.
“My father, who was former Hawaii National Guard Col. John Campbell, was one of the first organizers for this parade,” Kathy said. “He would attend meetings with the American Legion in the fall, organizing the parade and planning the route. We are so proud of it and how much it has grown. It’s so memorable for me to stand in front of my mother’s house and see everyone celebrating.”
Marines from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band, marched and played a variety of songs, like “The Marines’ Hymn,” “Battle Cry of Freedom” and the theme from “Hawaii 5-0.”
Lance Cpl. Ryan Sitka, a trumpet player with MarForPac Band and native of Bristol, Conn., said this year’s parade was a better turnout then he has seen in Waikiki in past years.
“I think the great turn out was due to the fact that it was a local parade, so the local pride was present,” Sitka said. “It was exciting to see all the people supporting troops and singing along to the songs. I’m glad I was able to perform because I see first hand that people look up to us as service members representing a prime example of what the United States and the Marine Corps are about.”
Col. Brian P. Annichiarico, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, rode in a late model Corvette along the parade route as well as veterans, politicians and service members from all the branches, representing the important roles they play for our country.
Kathy Allen looked on in awe and excitement as the parade passed by, recalling the years in the past and looking forward to future parades.
“I remember when I was 10-years-old, participating as a Majorette,” Allen said. “My sister also participated one year, rollerblading along the parade route. My most memorable parade was our country’s 200th birthday celebration. But this year was wonderful. Everyone was so patriotic, wishing each other a Happy Fourth of July. My dad would be so proud if he was here.”
Roger also reflected on past parades and why they are important to him.
“This parade has grown so much,” he said. “It’s a good way to celebrate our country’s birthday and celebrate our troops and their sacrifice at the same time.”