Pleasanton enjoys old-fashioned July 4thThe color theme was red, white and blue as about 800 people gathered at Lions Wayside Park for the 12th annual all-volunteer event, "Celebrating Freedom and its Evolution since the Revolution." Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298 and American Legion Post 238 provided not only the color guard, but a rifle squad that started things off with a bang, literally. Rousing music was performed by the Pleasanton Community Concert Band, and a hotdog barbecue was cooked and served by members of the Pleasanton Lions Club. Other volunteers handed out free programs, fans and American flags, plus soap bubbles and temporary patriotic tattoos. About two dozen members of Boy Scout Troop 908 devoted the full day to setting up and cleaning up.
"Even though we may have different ways of interpreting our freedoms and how we should govern, we come together on July Fourth to celebrate our common heritage of freedom," said W. Ron Sutton, founder of the event.
The event also honors those who have served in the military, plus families that currently have someone who has volunteered for military duty. Pleasanton Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman read her poem, "Boots on First," which captured the feeling of welcoming home veterans (and mourning those who do not return). Keynote speaker Ann Collins evoked both laughter and tears as she spoke of why one should "Cherish Your Heritage," and how that concept is hard to grasp as a child but increasingly important as an adult. Also the 2010 Ed Kinney Community Patriots, Brad Hirst, Dave Wright and Rosiland Wright, each spoke of how rewarding community service can be.
-- Jerri Pantages Long