Fourth of July celebrations offer chance to appreciate freedom, remember sacrifice

Fourth of July celebrations offer chance to appreciate freedom, remember sacrifice

The vision for Independence Day celebrations can be traced back to a letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail, in which Adams speaks of dreams of “pomp and parade, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.” Although Adams originally thought America’s independence would be celebrated July 2, Congress delayed the signing of the Declaration of Independence by two days. What would transpire thereafter would change the world and shape a nation. But the price for liberty was high, costing 25,000 American lives — one reason why it is so important to remember this day in history and celebrate our freedom.

Southeast Texans will have the opportunity to do just that Friday, July 4, as the city of Beaumont presents its annual Fourth of July Celebration beginning at 5 p.m. at Riverfront Park. The event is free and open to the public. Performances are free, and food and beverage booths will be set up in and around the park with park gates opening at 5 p.m. and the celebration kicking off with a special tribute to members of the armed forces and emergency services.

“It is a time to pause and remember … those who have served our country,” said finance officer John Brian of the Southeast Texas Veterans Service Group, the nonprofit organization performing the multi-branch presentation. “Also to remember that our freedom is not free, that it depends on the dedication of those who not only served in the military but those who are first responders, police officers and firemen. It’s a time to remember and just appreciate that we have a country where we have rights and privileges based upon the Constitution.”

Several vendors will be on hand selling food, drinks, treats and novelties. Free bottled water will be available from Anchor Church.

“The city of Beaumont Fourth of July Celebration, now in its 28th year, is a safe family activity with something for everyone,” said Lenny Caballero, director of the city of Beaumont’s event facilities. “Thanks to our mayor and City Council, this event continues to grow and is bigger and better than ever before. It is an opportunity for everyone to come together in beautiful downtown Beaumont and celebrate Independence Day.”

Following the Uniformed Heroes tribute, attendees will enjoy three live bands: Jack Edery at 5:30 p.m., The Flava Band at 6:30 p.m., and Lisa Marshall at 7:45 p.m.

Jack Edery and The Flava Band are hometown musicians, with Jack Edery known for his harsh whiskey voice and synergy of funk and blues with a punch of punk for good measure, and The Flava Band for playing a variety of favorites including rock, soul, jazz, blues and party tunes. A special treat for celebrants will be Lisa Marshall, who brings a little bit of the “Live Music Capital of the World” to Beaumont, as she performs her soul-a-licious, folk-funk dusted with rhythm and blues.

“Sweet, refreshing and ‘greezy’ like a mint julep on a Hot Summer Day in the French Quarter of New Orleans” is how the Austin resident’s website describes her music.

Howard Dukes of describes Marshall’s music as a “muscular brand of soul and blues with a little country mixed in” and “a point of view combin(ing) power packed vocals with lyrics that have a universal appeal.”

And if your taste in music is a little more refined, the Symphony of Southeast Texas has just the remedy as it salutes our nation’s independence with an 8 p.m. concert performance free and open to the public at Julie Rogers Theatre. Attendees can expect to hear the best in patriotic classical orchestra including “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Olympic Fanfare,” “A Salute to the Big Bands,” and more.

“We have some wonderful patriotic tunes in addition to great American music,” said Maestro Chelsea Tipton II, music director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas. “Henry Mancini was an American music icon, and his music will be featured. There will also be some big band music in addition to some music by John Williams. We cannot celebrate this day without closing with Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The symphony will also perform Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March” with guest conductor Terrance Davis, a 2014 graduate of West Brook High School and resident of Boys’ Haven. Davis was the recipient of a donation of the Symphony Ball’s July 4 Guest Conductor auction item won by Melinda Cormier.

“Each July 4th, we like to have a young guest conductor student to come and join us on stage,” Tipton said. “Terrance is going to have fun with this, and it gives a deserving young person an idea of what it is like to be a conductor and to be on stage with a professional orchestra.”

The concert will also include a “Salute to the Armed Forces” honoring servicemen and women from past and present. The concert is sure to be as explosive as the fireworks show that follows. The premiere sponsor of the July 4 concert is ExxonMobil. Concert contributors include H-E-B, Mobiloil Federal Credit Union, Marine Fueling, the Symphony League of Beaumont and the City of Beaumont.

“We certainly appreciate the support of ExxonMobil for their 23 years of support of our Fourth of July Celebration and the city of Beaumont for helping to continue this tradition,” Tipton said. “Our sponsors make the music come alive, and they are such a  vital part of what makes Beaumont great.”

Following the symphony performance is the highlight of the night — a fireworks display accompanied by patriotic music.

“Independence Day is a wonderful time for families and neighbors to get together and to celebrate the freedoms and privileges we enjoy as Americans,” said Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames. “I am so pleased that the city can be a part of those memories. I think we put on a first-class celebration every year, something really special.”

For more information on the city of Beaumont Fourth of July celebration, call (409) 838-3435.