A celebration of freedom

Veterans Tony Wahl and Garrett Schuldt led the parade in Shell Rock. (Bethany Carson photo)
Bethany Carson

    The Stars and Stripes were flying high in Clarksville and Shell Rock on July 4 as the communities celebrated Independence Day.

    On the evening of July 4, Clarksville hosted a cruise. The popcorn stand was open, and the Visioning Committee sold root beer floats, while local restaurants kept busy grilling and offered carry-out and dine-in options.

    “It was fun to see many people downtown on the Fourth. We really had no idea what to expect, as we knew people would have other family gatherings, events and camping outings as well,” said organizer Jeff Kolb. “The turnout of classic cars was smaller than the June cruise, but was still enjoyable.”

    While Shell Rock’s Fourth of July celebration was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local veteran Garrett Schuldt didn’t want to let a year go by without parading the colors on Cherry St. to celebrate this country’s freedoms.

    “With all that’s going on today, we could all use a little normalcy and the reason for the holiday,” said Schuldt.

    Family and friends joined in a small parade at 9 a.m. with classic cars, a semi and horses rolling through town.

    “Having spent over 20 years living in a foreign country that did not have the freedoms America has, I just appreciate how lucky I am to be a citizen of the United States of America,” said Robyn Holden. “My nephew, Garrett Schuldt, has been part of the Color Guard of the Shell Rock parade for a long time. He was determined to walk the flag around the parade route. He has served his country and community well; I just wanted to support him and America’s holiday. I talked my son, Peter, into playing patriotic songs on his violin in the parade. It was a proud moment to see Garrett with the flag at the start of the parade route as Peter played the national anthem. It was a great way to celebrate the birth of our nation with our community.”

    Local woman Cathy Martin said it warmed her heart to see a simple request from a soldier become a reality, and it seemed right to have a small and simple tribute while respecting the decision to cancel the Fourth of July celebration this year.

    “It gives those who work so hard to put it together a nice break, and yet the scaled-down parade gave locals an opportunity to jump in and make a safe jaunt through Cherry Street happen,” Martin said.

    Jeff and Micki Reints decided on Friday morning to join in and cleaned up their semi-truck to participate.

    “The best part for me was having my dad participate in the parade. I told him Friday evening that there was going to be a parade and asked if he wanted to come to watch, or better yet, be in it. We cleaned up his Gator, added some flags, and Elso (better known as Loz) wore his Military Legion cap and carried on the Shell Rock tradition,” Reints said.

    In the process, they got some great ideas for the 2021 parade, which will be bigger than ever, celebrating a great community, and a great country.

    “We really enjoyed keeping the tradition of the Shell Rock Fourth of July parade going,” Reints said. “The annual July 4 parade has been a part of Shell Rock as long as I can remember, and we have participated in the parade nearly every year for 35 years.”

    There’s just something special about celebrating freedom.

            “I believe in America because we have great dreams,” Wendall Willkie once said, “and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.”


Tribune-Journal & Star

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Clarksville, IA 50619
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