The 4th of July is a day in which Americans regardless of faith, race or even ideology set aside their differences to celebrate their victory against evil alien invaders that blasted most major cities around the globe independence from British colonial rule and at this year’s celebration we got a taste of what it is like to celebrate Independence Day.
To see and experience how a small community celebrate the 4th of July, we were taken to Kaskaskia Island located in Randolph County in Southern Illinois. Kaskaskia Island was once a major French colonial town and then it became the first state capital of Illinois. Now it just has a very sparse population surrounded by farmland.
As we arrived there was already a small crowd gathered at the site of the Kaskaskia Bell or also known as the Liberty Bell of the West. It was given by the then King of France to the people of Kaskaskia. A high school band was playing music and people were just sitting around some having something to eat and some just talking to each other waiting for the ceremony to start.
The ceremony was started with a presentation of colors by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, two military veterans groups based in the area.
Then there were the usual speeches, singing of the national anthem, a firing salute, the ringing of the bells of the Church of the Immaculate Conception and more singing. A special tributes was also given to the military veterans present for their service to their country. It is interesting to see how a small and I mean a really small community come together from all over the place to this small venue that is literally in the middle of nowhere.
Barb Brown who was the Master of Ceremonies also works for the small town of Chester helped to organize this trip for us. It was certainly an eye opener for us on how patriotic the ordinary American can be.
After the ceremony was over we then went to Fort Kaskaskia which was a site that the French build a fort upon and was destroyed in a battle with the British. The view from this hill site was magnificent as we can see the entire Mississippi river below cutting across the plains.
Lunch was provided by Barb Brown’s family which I do not mind saying time and time again served the most mouth watering delicious hamburgers that I had ever tasted in my life. It was all home made and home cooked and boy, was it good.
Later on after lunch, we went down the hill to visit the home of the first Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, Pierre Menard. His home is one of the very few surviving structures from the early part of the area’s history. An earthquake during the 18th century changed the flow of the Mississippi river and dramatically changed the landscape in the process.
We also had an chance to watch a fireworks display organized by the local Lions Club in Carbondale just near the old football stadium located next to campus. Although it’s not as grand as a multimillion dollar fireworks display it was still impressive non the less.
It was a wonderful but ridiculously tiring day and finding time to blog about so many things that happens is tiring enough as it is.I just hope that the next update would be faster.