I wish I could reach out and shake every hand, give a hug or write a personal note to everyone who attended, participated in and supported the 27th annual Sweet Land of Liberty Parade.
But since I can’t, I hope to reach as many as I can with this letter. Many, many thanks to everyone for making this a day that I will always hold special in my heart. I was truly surprised months ago when Keleigh Holle with the LaGrange Junior Service League called to ask me, Debbie Burdette, to serve as the grand marshal for the Sweet Land of Liberty Parade.
What an honor! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be standing on a stage in my hometown, with a proclamation from the Mayor, stating that July 4, 2012, would be Debbie Burdette Day in LaGrange, receiving a commendation from the governor for promoting literacy in our town and accepting a flag from Congressman Lynn Westmoreland that had flown over the nation’s Capitol in June.
I was and I still am truly humbled by all the attention. It was so exciting to see all the children and their ideas regarding the theme of the parade, “American Stories.” It was great to see how differently the children (or their parents) interpreted the theme. Some were dressed as their favorite book characters, some were dressed as famous Americans, some portrayed their favorite story about American history and there were so many others.
This was a great theme and the participants embodied it from all perspectives. It reminded me that each one of us is writing our own story from the day we are born to the day we die. I hope what you write between your pages makes good reading for the generations to follow. I hope there will be chapters about how you made a difference in someone’s life, how you helped to make our community a better place, stories about your family times.
There will also be stories of pain and sorrow for we are not promised a life of constant happiness. But I hope your story will take those sad times and turn them into lessons learned and shared and move on. And I hope as you near the end of your life story that you will hear the words I am sure the founder of the Sweet Land of Liberty Parade, Mrs. Annette Boyd, heard on the last page of her life story, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I would like to give a special thanks to the LaGrange Junior Service League for honoring me as grand marshal and for sponsoring the parade again this year. Thanks for the memories you added to my life story and to our children’s life stories. It is great to be an American and live in America’s greatest little city.