MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Young patriots piloted colorful bicycles on the streets of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, during the air station’s first Fourth of July Youth Parade, July 4, 2017.
Nearly 100 members of the MCAS Cherry Point community joined in on the red, white and blue biking festivities.
“It is a perfect time for everyone to come together and meet each other,” said Caitlin Chemelewski, organizer for the event. “It’s something I’ve always wanted as a child in my neighborhood, so I thought we should start one here. We still do the fireworks and barbecue, but this is a great addition to the Fourth of July experience for the kids.”
This first Fourth of July Youth Parade catered to the younger members of the family, but also served to bring the larger community together.
“Family is important, because they take care of you, they love you and support you,” said Dayva, a 9-year-old who participated in the parade. “I don’t know all the kids here, but it’s good for all of us to come out here at the same time. I want the bike parade to happen again so we can have fun again.”
The Cherry Point Provost Marshal’s Office ensured the Independence Day fun was conducted safely as police vehicles led participants through the mile-long route. Cherry Point’s own McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Dog also braved the heat to encourage the young participants.
“The kids definitely enjoyed this,” said Staff Sgt. Elias Velasquez, the quality assurance representative assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “My daughters loved being here and being able to decorate their bikes. It gives you not only the opportunity to celebrate with family, but also the chance to celebrate with people from other sides of the community who you may not know.”
Velasquez believes it is very important to have the community come together like this.
“If it happens again next year, we’ll definitely be the first ones to sign up,” said Velasquez.