Bowdens happy to lead hometown’s Independence parade

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lawrence and Sara Bowden will be honored Saturday as the Grand Marshals of the Independence Day Parade in Brundidge.

However, riding in the Independence Day Parade in their hometown is a family tradition for the Bowden family.

Just how many years they have paraded down Main Street waving American flags in celebration of the county’s independence, they aren’t quite sure.

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“We first started participating in the parade with the Republican Party when it wasn’t all that active in Pike County,” Bowden said. “Then, about 12 years ago, we started participating as a family whose history in Pike County goes back to 1824 when my great, five greats, granddaddy came here from North Carolina.”

Each year, the Bowden family gathers at the home of the family patriarch and matriarch on Friday afternoon to decorate the float for the next day’s parade.

Sara Bowden, laughingly said, “You’re not a Bowden unless you are born a Bowden.

So I don’t ride on the float. I ride in the truck with my son-in-law who drives the float.”

The dutiful wife, Bowden, said that it is her husband (a veteran, city council member and community servant) who being honored on Saturday but Dixie Shehane, president of the sponsoring Brundidge Business Association, said otherwise.

“Each year, we select a veteran who is active in our community, as the Grand Marshal,” Shehane said. “Lawrence Bowen is certainly deserving on the honor but so is Sara because ‘behind every great man, there stands a woman’ and she has certainly stood behind him. Any time a man is in the military, his wife has to make great sacrifices and, we all know, what an encourager and supporter Sara has been to her husband. And, too, she such a big part of the Brundidge community, as retired teacher, a faithful member of her church, a charter member of the Brundidge Historical Society and as a lead performer at the We Piddle Around Theater.”

Lawrence Bowden said he and his wife are honored to be the Grand Marshals of the 2011 Independence Day Parade, which will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday along Main Street in Brundidge.

“I don’t know how the BBA makes the selection but this is a real honor for Sara and me,” he said. “It’s very humbling.”

The Bowdens will lead the parade and somewhere behind them will be the Bowden float, “Enjoying 180 years of freedom here in Pike County.”

Bowden said patriotism has long been a hallmark of his family. His great-great-great grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War and, since that time, a member of the Bowden family has fought in every conflict in which the United States has been a player.

Bowden served with the Army in Korea and his four brothers also served in the military.

“I’ve always been patriotic and I have a deep appreciation for my country and what it does,” he said. “The older I get, I appreciate it more and more because I have a greater understanding of world happenings. I appreciate the willingness of the men and women who pick up and go anywhere in the world to defend freedom.

“The American flag can be seen all over the world and, when it’s flying, people know that things will be better because our flag is there.”

Bowden said that he loves his country without reservation.

“I know that we are not perfect and I don’t defend the things that we do wrong but we are still the greatest country on earth and it’s a great feeling to be an American.”