The Fourth of July is coming and I couldn’t be more excited. Sure, the 4th often involves barbeques and beautiful weather, but here in our community there are many other things that I eagerly anticipate.
In Prescott, we enjoy a high population of retirees, many of whom are veterans. These proud men and women can often be found donning their military caps, displaying the branch and war in which they served. It is truly an honor to be part of a community rich in patriotism and history, that deeply values our veterans; what a joy to celebrate Independence Day surrounded at patriotic events with such amazing living examples, such heroes, who displayed bravery, love of these United States, and freedom for its citizens.
Speaking of heroes, I am also excited that Prescottonians and visitors alike will be able to continue to honor the Hotshots in a new, meaningful way. The Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center at our own Prescott Gateway Mall tells the story of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013. The displays of artifacts, memorabilia, and accounts serve to educate and inspire visitors. The Center also educates visitors on fire prevention and firefighting. I encourage everyone to take in this experience and take a moment to remember and honor these men. For hours and information, go to GMIHC19.org.
One of the greatest parts of the 4th of July, in my opinion, is the opportunity it gives us all to take time to reflect. To reflect on the blessings we enjoy, and how fortunate we are to celebrate the birthday of this beautiful nation we call home. I also reflect on the thankfulness and joy I feel when I am surrounded by family, and being able to share so many moments of fun with those I love.
In particular, we have the honor of hosting the World’s Oldest Rodeo each and every year around the 4th of July and the myriad of events that coincide with the Rodeo never fail to impress. I love the Prescott Frontier Days Parade. Sure, traffic may increase, but so does the comradery. Prescott residents, as well as many from other Yavapai County cities, and the Valley come together to cheer, wave flags, clap, and celebrate the various community groups that help make this city great. Whether the entries are youth organizations, cool cars, equestrian groups, cultural groups, or those who serve our city, the parade route is packed with families, visitors, neighbors, and new friends. This year we will host the World’s Oldest Rodeo ™ from July 1st through July 7th, celebrating the parade on Saturday, July 6th , dance the night away at the Rodeo Dance which is hosted each evening from July 4th – July 6th and of course spend a day or two enjoying our Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza filled with artisans for the Arts & Crafts Show July 5th – July 7th.
Of course, there is the traditional 4th of July pastime of fireworks, and they are certainly a wonderful way to celebrate the season. This year, the fireworks over beautiful Watson Lake will fill the skies with light, our ears with the sound of patriotic music and loud bursts of sound, and our hearts with thankfulness for freedom.
As I think about all of these celebratory moments, I realize what an honor it is to serve as the Mayor of Prescott. I am honored to be part of this community and to share that with my family. Sheila and I recently became grandparents, and this year for the first time, I’ll be able to share my thankfulness with our grandson. He fills our hearts with joy and our phones with pictures. But this year, he will fill our 4th with child-like wonder as well.
I hope that you, too, will have a great holiday filled with family, reflection, and celebration.
I pray God’s blessings on each of you for a safe and happy 4th!