The event was coordinated by Roberta Dobie both years as a way to bring some Fourth of July festivities to Live Oak County since there were no parades or fireworks.
“I just grew up in big cities where they had a parade and did something, and I wanted to do anything, but I didn’t have the contacts to do a parade, so I came up with this,” Dobie said.
Cars and 18-wheelers honked when they drove down Highway 281 as flags were waived by a crowd of approximately 40 people along with eight or nine members of the Patriot Guard on motorcycles and six or seven members of the local VFW too according to Dobie.
The local VFW’s oldest member and World War II veteran John Prosen of George West was in attendance as flags were passed out to those without one.
“Seeing him out enjoying the Fourth of July in both places...that’s what the Fourth of July is,” Dobie said.
George West’s Gary Jones organized the Patriot Guard members as they and the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Department led the convoy of cars from George West to Three Rivers.
The Clovis T. Ray memorial wreath was hung at the flagpole in Three Rivers in memory of a local veteran who died in combat.
“On a day that we’re going out and barbecuing and spending time at the pool and the beach, we need to remember the sacrifices out soldiers did for us in the past and the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice like Clovis (Clovis T. Ray),” Three Rivers Mayor Sammy Garcia said. “We need to reflect how we’re able to do the things we do and enjoy is because of the soldiers on the front lines for us.”
The mayors for both cities attended the flag waving events and gave welcoming speeches. Three Rivers First Baptist Church’s pastor Lyn Means and George West Church of Christ’s Andrew Fridelle gave opening prayers.
George West Church of Christ was particularly involved with Andrew Fridelle offering the opening prayer, his wife, Janae Fridelle, singing the national anthem and congregation member Phyllis Stewart dressed as Uncle Sam.
“Phyllis dressed as Uncle Sam was really cute,” Garcia said. “Roberta (Dobie) did a really great job.”
Ms. Live Oak County Leslie Hatch helped distribute the music and God Bless America stickers with runner-up Brooklynn Soliz.
Although the crowd was smaller this year according to Dobie, there were some upgrades this year with Joe Burch’s PA system for he and Janae Fridelle to “God Bless America,” “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Burch also sang some original songs.
“It was solemn, and then it was happy; we had songs, and we walked along the street of (highway) 281, and people were honking, and it was joyous,” Steele said.
Dobie said she would like to bring in the fire trucks at next year’s flag waving and is looking for suggestions and help to make the event grow.
“I grew up going to Fourth of July parades, and this is kind of like one,” Dobie said.
To get involved or offer suggestions, contact Dobie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 786-2271.