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Patriotic First Friday

First Posted: 11:58 am - July 8th, 2015

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Ridgeway Mayor Charlene Herring dons patriotic garb and welcomes attendees to Ridgeway’s Patriotic First Friday.

Nelson Lady leads the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Doug Ruff, member of the Go Forth Chapter of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, speaks about the history of July 4.

Doug Ruff, Rosalee Harrison and Louise Ruff, members of the Go Forth Chapter of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, spoke at a reception at Laura’s Tea Room.

Sidney Squirewell, 97, was the oldest veteran to attend Ridgeway’s Patriotic First Friday.

RIDGEWAY — The first Friday of each month means special sales and special hours in Ridgeway, but July’s First Friday had a patriotic flair.

The Patriotic First Friday in Ridgeway included a Parade for Veterans, patriotic music and speeches delivered by the Go Forth Institute for Cultural Communicators chapter.

“I’d like to thank all our veterans, especially, our Vietnam veterans,” said Ridgeway Mayor Charlene Herring. “The town of Ridgeway would like to applaud and salute you.”

Herring shared a patriotic anecdote from Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, she finds inspiring. The story began with McCain noticing a fellow prisoner of war, Mike Christian, was mysteriously sewing.

“What he realized is — families were able to send handkerchiefs, scarves or whatever — and Mike was actually making an American Flag, which he sewed in the back of his shirt, and everyday before they began to have their bowl of soup or bowl of rice, Mike would take his shirt off, hang it up, and they would pledge the flag.” Herring said.

However, this soon resulted in violent punishment from the Vietnamese.

“They beat him to a pulp,” Herring said. “He almost could not see from the whipping that he got.”

Shortly thereafter, Christian sewed another flag.

“Not because of him, not to bring attention to him, but because of the honor and the duty it is to serve our county,” Herring said.

These pridefully, patriotic sentiments were seconded by Tina Johnson, owner of Over the Top, on behalf of Ridgeway’s merchants.

“You (veterans) kept us safe, and we appreciate it,” Johnson said.

The Parade for Veterans included accompaniment from Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, and participation from 97-year-old Sidney Squirewell, Ridgeway’s oldest veteran.

After the parade, a reception was held at Laura’s Tea Room. Members of the Go Forth chapter of the Institute of Cultural Communicators spoke at the reception.

Doug Ruff spoke about the importance of the United State’s founding ideals.

“This is the only country on Earth to be founded on liberty,” Ruff said.

Ruff recited the Declaration of Independence and espoused its ideals.

Rosalee Harrison recited a patriotic poem in honor of her late, great grandfather, who lost his life in the Korean War.

Louise Ruff spoke about the War of 1812.

“Once again, we fought the British on our own soil,” Ruff said.

Ruff mentioned how the sights and sounds of this war were impressed upon Francis Scott Key and inspired the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

She then recited “The Star-Spangled Banner,” including lesser known second, third and fourth verses.

At dusk, the Town of Ridgeway held an outdoor screening of the movie “Paddington.”

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