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Independence days still happenPosted Friday, July 15, 2011, at 9:50 AM
As Americans, one of our proudest holiday celebrations is the Fourth of July. Star Spangled Spectacular lived up to its name this year, just like many other similar celebrations across the U.S.
Growing up, I always attended the festivities in Clear Lake. The parade was just as big of a deal there as it is here, but slightly nightmarish afterwards for the people from out-of-town. You would fight your way through the crowds to your car, and sit for the next half hour due to a miniature traffic jam.
Sometimes my cousins would come up from Des Moines for the festivities. Since the three of us girls were close in age, we would usually be wearing matching patriotic outfits from Kohl's, courtesy of Grandma.
Parade participants would toss candy, so you'd be fighting with the other kids for the best spot on the curb and for the most pieces of candy to fill up a plastic Fareway bag---squished Frooties and half-melted Tootsie Rolls.
That's what the Fourth of July meant to me as a child. It was just another fun summer day, but more complete with hot funnel cakes and Ferris wheel rides in the park.
While both my grandpas served in World War II, but never really talked about it, it is difficult, as a child, to understand freedom when it is something you have always had and have never been without.
There's a small community here in Storm Lake who is jubilantly still celebrating new-found freedom.
July 9, 2011 now signifies the culmination of 54 years of struggle for freedom.
The people of newly-formed Republic of South Sudan celebrated their freedom this past weekend, and 7,500 miles away, the Sudanese community of Storm Lake celebrated along with them at Lakeside Presbyterian.
There was presentation of the new flag and national anthem "South Sudan Oyee!" was sung for the first time, and even an impromptu parade was held, so that the community could proudly show off the new flag.
Freedom has never been sweeter for these refugees. For family still abroad and family here in the U.S., a moment of peace and has finally occurred.
Perhaps the U.S.' first declaration of independence celebration was just as jubilant; well, as jubilant as it could be in 1776. I imagine people were also singing the national anthem and someone was riding around on horseback displaying the new flag, stars and stripes rippling in the breeze.
I'm sure a few people were dancing, but it's doubtful their stuffy celebrative moves were as good as the people of South Sudan's were.
So, congratulations, Republic of South Sudan. You made it through 54 years of struggle, and those abroad are just as proud as those at home.
* Ashley Miller is a member of the Pilot-Tribune news staff. Reach her at email@example.com