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Celebrating Freedom

Just how many people crowed the streets of Brundidge for the annual Independence Day Parade, no one knows.

Many of the parade watchers peeped out from inside the comfort of air-conditioned stores. Some watched from the vantage point of distant shade and some sat on the front porches along North Main Street.

“It was hot, very hot, but there was nothing that we could do about that,” said John Ramage, president of the sponsoring Brundidge Business Association. “But given the heat, I was very pleased with the attendance. We had a good crowd and an enthusiastic crowd. It was a good parade with 88 entries and I want to thank all of those who worked so hard to make our Independence Day Parade a success.”

Ramage said the decision to honor the 900th Maintenance Company of the Alabama National Guard as the Grand Marshals of the parade was a fitting one.

“The 900th will be deployed in August in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and we are proud of them and wanted to honor their commitment to their country,” Ramage said. “We plan to have something else special for them before they leave but recognizing their service at the same time we celebrate our country’s independence was fitting.”

The Independence Day Parade always attracts queens from area communities and it’s the first time that many of these young community representatives get to meet each other before the activities and events of the National Peanut Festival Pageant in Dothan in the fall.

“This year, the queens got a preview of the addition to our library,” Ramage said. “We are proud of the new facility and that we were able to host them for the first ‘event’ there.”

The Fort Rucker Army Band led the parade again this year and Ramage said the band is always a big drawn.

“The Fort Rucker Army Band is one of the best around, and we really appreciate the fact they will come here to help us celebrate the Fourth of July,” Ramage said. “Rue (Botts) gets them here every year ,and I don’t ask how. We’re just glad they are here.”

Ramage said having the Army band lead the parade, and the Pride of Pike Marching Band at the midpoint made it possible to have “marching” music throughout the parade.

“Music makes a parade and these bands really did a good job,” he said.

As soon as the last entry passed the reviewing stand, the BBA began making plans for next year’s parade.

“What we want to do is find a way to keep people in town after the parade,” Ramage said. “We want people to stay around so we can showcase our town because we have a lot to be proud of. We’ll be working on that over the next few months and, hopefully, we’ll find a way.”