WEBSTER GROVES, MO (KMOX)– They came, they sat in the lawn chairs and they watched the marching bands, boy scouts and aging veterans waving American flags.
The 4th of July parade, a comfortable ritual in Webster of family and country, came and went without any regrets, except perhaps, that it was over in an hour and the chairs had to be folded up and life was moving on.
Battle of the Bulge survivor Eugene Ganz waved to the crowd atop an olive green troop transporter vehicle with tank treads. Asked if he had any wish for the crowd, Ganz told KMOX:
“Happy Fourth, I’m glad you’re free,” he said, “It took our blood to give you this freedom.”
The parade also featured some slapdash homemade floats, including a Town and Country minivan with plywood and canvas walls painted to resemble an old frame house in Old Orchard, an historic neighborhood in Webster.
There were also pretty girls, the winners of the local Miss Webster contest waiving from the back seat of convertibles. And gymnasts doing cartwheels on the hot blacktop. And antique cars. And horse drawn carriages.
Jostling for position along the parade route began days ago, some people putting out chairs days in advance to claim front row seats.
One Gore Avenue resident who asked not to be identified said she doesn’t like “chair squatters” setting up in front of her house when she had a party of her own crowding the lawn. But she says she refrained from getting nasty with the squatters, because her church bulletin last Sunday had a message from the pastor urging Webster residents to “be nice to people they don’t know” at the parade.
Some families make a day of it, continuing the party with cold beers and barbecue and lawn games and visiting in chairs under shade trees–long after the parade has passed.
Many others followed the parade to the Lions Club carnival by the Webster recreation center for amusement park rides, food and drinks. Everyone knowing, but no one saying it aloud, that after the fireworks, it’s back to reality, another day at the office awaits tomorrow.