Centralia 4th of July Parade Chair Butch Mathis wasn’t alone when he marched down the traditional route even though the parade had been officially canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Mathis who carried a US Flag was joined by the Centralia Police and Fire Departments, the Elk’s Lodge carrying their huge U.S. flag, and multiple other groups and individuals. There were some sitting out in lawn chairs along the ‘parade route’, even though Mathis had not indicated in advance how many planned to join him.
When announcing the cancelation, Mathis said as Americans have freedoms and he couldn’t stop people who wanted to go down the parade route with him. He further emphasized ‘this is not a parade’ during Saturday’s event.
After the group completed its march down West Broadway to Fairview Park, Mathis used a bullhorn to address those who joined him near the veterans’ memorials from various wars.
“Normally, we would have a carnival. We’d have fireworks and everything else. Well, this, unfortunately, will have to suffice on this day because we want to show our support to our veterans of the past, now, and the future. How much we appreciate your service to keep our freedoms free.”
Mathis later drew applause from the crowd when saying we need to continue the fight for our freedom.
“Honestly, I really thought I was going to be one lonely soul out here. I was proven wrong. I thank you. I am very honored. God bless America and Happy Birthday America.”
The Centralia American Legion earlier canceled the multi-day Homecoming Event that traditionally concludes with a fireworks display due to COVID-19.
Below is a photo gallery of the Centralia 4th of July march down Broadway to Fairview Park. Photos by Pat Hodges.