A Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps delivered the patriotic address during the 127th North Morristown 4th of July Celebration today.  Emily Levy began her brief speech by saying she hesitated agreeing to speak at first because, "Like most Marines and Americans I would prefer to celebrate with a beer in hand."

Levy added, "I am very delighted however to share this celebration with you.  I love seeing all the people out here and this is definitely an experience that I hope to come back to."  The U.S. Marine recalled as a little girl watching fireworks and genuinely feeling "pride in my country and the heart tightening feeling you get when you think about the freedom of America and what we get to enjoy today."

Levy said, "I think that is what ultimately drove me to serve our country.  This has really brought home to me 14 years ago today as I sat on the parade deck at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Paris Island, South Carolina with a barrage of fireworks overhead.  I was surrounded by young women ages 18 to 27 from all walks of life, born in different countries, mostly American, but some other countries, with different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different walks of life, who all came together that day to serve our country."

Levy pointed out, "I was going through the process of being like, a nasty recruit, to being made into a United States Marine.  It just drove home to me why I was so proud to be an American."

"The fourth of July is not just about the pomp and circumstance celebration but it symbolizes what we as Americans do every day of our lives."

Levy named some area recruits in attendance heading to basic training and some people from the area currently serving in the military which drew applause from the crowd.

The United States Marine said the celebration of our Nation's birth is not just for the military, "but for all Americans who march, who petition, who argue, who pray, who fight and some even die for our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Levy added during her seven and a half minute presentation, "I feel it's especially fitting today that I stand in front of you as a woman because 2019 is the 100th year anniversary that women have served in the Marine Corps.  That's pretty neat.  I think it goes to show you the empowerment that the Declaration of Independence has left us with.  That we have the freedom to follow and chase our dreams regardless of what we look like or where we come from because that's what this country allows us to do."

She concluded, "This is a day to not just remind us of our past or our struggles but to celebrate our future and what we have ahead of us.  Regardless as I said of where we come from, what we look like.  Men and women have fought to preserve our freedoms but also to expand this freedom to others and it's definitely something to enjoy and celebrate.  The last thing I would like to leave you with today is that, I will challenge you to reflect on your dreams.  Where you are at today and how this country and this independence helped you get there.  Thank you very much and God bless America."

The wet grounds didn't seem to have any impact on the throngs of people enjoying the music, food and games that have been a part of the North Morristown event for over a century.  Vehicles were not allowed on the grounds due to the nearly two inches of rain that fell in a half hour time frame Wednesday afternoon.  When I left the grounds just before mid-afternoon there were still a number of vehicles parked on Rice County Road 12 which is a hike from the site of the event.

The parade was approximately 45 minutes long.  The route lined with people from all over the region.  During an open mike session with Veterans a man from Dallas,Texas said he loved the "small town celebration."

I had my usual piece of homemade pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Strawberry Rhubarb was my choice and it was delicious. I purchased a hamburger and water before indulging in the pie and spent the last dollar I had with me on a bag of popcorn smothered with melted butter.

Happy Birthday America.  Hopefully the Lord allows me to see the 128th North Morristown Celebration.

A Glimpse of the Avenue of Flags in North Morristown. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld