By Will Martin
5 am came awfully early.
The morning that people awaken to the day that has the most meaning to most Americans in the name of freedom and sacrifice.
For those who laid their lives on the line, answered a command and proudly served in places where no man dared to dread a huge thank you. This goes without saying.
It also goes without saying that this marked only my second parade that I can remember in my adulthood working a gig on July 4th.
My first parade since June 16, 2011 when 250,000 people crowded the downtown Dallas area when the Mavericks won the NBA title.
Today would mark the 49th annual Arlington Independence Day Parade in the city of Arlington. Once upon a time the place for horse racing and gambling now the mecca for the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, UTA college, and a traditional parade with over 131 different floats.
A parade that has been around as long as the Super Bowl, with one visit here in Arlington 2/6/11.
With 70 trophies to be awarded by judges who viewed the floats before the parade began at 9 am sharp the two mile stretch of route would be joined by 40,000 fans of the 4th to take in the beauty of the holiday before enjoying the rest of the day.
This year the UT Arlington College Park District had some added amenities along the parade route. Free public parking, free open-seating bleachers, convenient restrooms, cool mist stations, and refreshments for sale. I also saw some stations where kids and adult could get their faces painted in red, white, and blue.
Since there is a General Motors assembly plant in Arlington it should not have been a surprise at the number of classic vehicles that were on display. Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck was one who was driven in one of those classy cars. Mustangs, Corvettes, Ford Model T’s, among others.
Schools, cheerleaders, the Flying Elvi’s (Elvis Presleys in small motorcycles making the Shriner guys blush), and quite the military presence graced this years array of floats.
The two hour parade began at 9 am sharp and ran smoothly until 11am this day. The heat was bearable, no threat of rain and it was a different way to start a three day holiday weekend.
Lots of history in Arlington. I can only imagine what the 50 year anniversary of the Independence Day Parade will bring.