Marvel superheroes and real American heroes alike marched down the historic 119th St. for Whiting’s 98th annual Fourth of July parade. Thousands of people flocked to the sidewalks to mark their spots for the parade well before dozens of floats representing key organizations in Whiting’s community took to the streets to celebrate Independence Day.
The annual parade, now celebrating it's 98th year of bringing the community together, has always been a staple of the historic Indiana town. Patriotism has played a large part in the foundation of Whiting’s traditions and beliefs, and Mayor Joseph Stahura has watched the town’s love for the United States flourish year after year.
“It’s my fourteenth time as Mayor on this day, and it’s a really cool day for the community,” said Stahura. “We bring 50 to 60 thousand people to downtown Whiting to watch a parade, so we really work hard at making it a good, patriotic show. I’m proud to be mayor of this cool little city.”
The patriotism that Stahura and his staff hoped the parade would embody shined through as the many veterans and current members of the United States military marched in the Fourth of July parade. Vance Walczak, who recently finished AIT and is an engineer with the US military, held the American flag as he marched with the Color Guard at the head of the parade. Although he has not been deployed, Walczak is eager to defend his country.
“I haven’t gone overseas like any of my brothers yet, but I’m looking forward to it. That’s when I’ll know what it truly means to be a hero in America,” said Walczak.
When the color guard began their journey down 119th St., the crowd roared with applause as they commended the national heroes and anticipated the arrival of the superheroes. The annual event brings a lot of familiar faces to the spectacle, but even as the parade celebrates almost 100 years, it is still bringing in newcomers ready to enjoy the tradition. First-time Whiting parade attendee Tonya Smith was one of the many people clapping for heroes like Walczak.
“I’m expecting to have a lot of fun today,” said Smith. “My daughter is actually in the parade with Scott and Morton Cheer Dance Team, so I came to see her. It’s nice to see everyone else, like the veterans, here as well.”
After almost a century of consecutive parades, Whiting has still managed to bring its citizens together in the spirit of entertainment, community, and patriotism to celebrate American heroes and values.
For more information about the City of Whiting and upcoming events, go to www.whitingindiana.com.