It was our sixth year at Caldwell and the temperature was forecast as hot, hot, hot. The call went out to dress down for the parade and just wear our branded golf shirts.  “No Way!” was the answer.  “We are ready for full regalia!”  And that is what our color corps did!

The temperature was hot and set to reach 97 degrees, but there was a gentle breeze from the north and we had wind to our face and flags blowing in the wind.  What a sight. 

As we waited on the side of the road for the parade to form, we watch the unofficial Caldwell Air Force do its annual flyover.  The color corps chatted with fellow veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.  There was even a three-generation family of veterans in the parade and several two generation families, too.

Gil Montoya, Grand Marshal, receives salute.

Our families were waiting anxiously at the Caldwell Community Center and we were ready to take the one mile journey.

Gil Montoya was late and had to divert to the community center and catch a ride back to be with us in the parade, but he was blocked because the parade was about to move.  We found him at the NC 57 parade start point with his Uncle Sam red, white and blue cap.  You could not miss him and his smiling face, then it happened.

The parade MC asked, “Who do we have who is seven or older?,” as he looked over toward Gil.  “You, come on over here,” he said and he motioned to Gil.  After a brief introduction and learning that Gil was with the Knights of Columbus Divine Mercy Assembly, Gil was declared the official parade Grand Marshal.  What an honor and we were all proud to hear him talk about the patriotism of the Fourth Degree.

 We were the lead in the parade, so we were able to watch the rest of the participants come in.  The march for us was 22 minutes and the parade lasted 44 minutes. 

There were hot dogs, beans, watermelon, cakes,  pies and lots of other treats for the 80+ attendees.  This is about 25% more than last year.  Lots and lots of new people and family are joining us for one of the best kept secrets of Orange County.  The Caldwell July 4th Parade.  How about you?  Will we see you next year?