If your vision of the perfect all-American mom and apple pie July Fourth celebration includes a concert by the U.S. Marine Corps Band, then the ideal spot for you to commemorate our nation’s independence this past weekend was most definitely New Orleans City Park.
The red, white and blue fete actually took place on July 3 so as not conflict with other holiday events planned throughout the city over the Fourth of July weekend. City Park’s party was staged on the Great Lawn with the historic Peristyle as a backdrop for the evening’s fireworks display.
Even before arriving on scene, I could sense the feeling of community as many families carted their toddlers in wagons, picnic feasts in tow, eager to snag that perfect spot for a day of fun. Turning the corner, I spied what had to be thousands of families sprawled out on the beautifully manicured green lawn in a sea of American flags displayed traditionally and on clothing, hats, tablecloths and even on pet gear. It was a beautiful site, truly a Norman Rockwell moment.
Even more stunning was the site of members of the U.S. Marine Corps New Orleans Band decked out in full dress uniform as they prepared to deliver the featured concert. Staff Sgt. Josh Campbell explained that this July Fourth celebration was City Park’s second annual.
“Last year we estimated around 7,000 people attended, but today it looks like we’ve exceeded that number. I’d say about 9,500 folks are out here,” said Campbell, one of the event’s key organizers.
“This is our way to give back to the community,” added New Orleans City Park Board President Bill Hoffman.
Conductor and Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Sherlock reminded me that our nation’s national anthem was more than 200 years old this year and that fact would be noted in the programming. As the band took it places on the stage and Conductor Sherlock asked everyone to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” men, women and children with hands pressed over hearts stood proudly to sing the words that poet Francis Scott Key wrote back in 1814.
It was truly a moving moment that caused one to pause in gratitude for many gifts we all share as Americans. And with so many members of the military and their families in attendance, the day was also a vivid reminder of the service and sacrifice of our troops past and present.
New Orleans City Park is one of our city’s greatest resources that must be supported and cherished by all of our citizens. The 1,300-acre outdoor oasis includes attractions like the Botanical Garden, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Carousel Gardens and Amusement Park, City Putt and so much more.
To learn about more about all of the park’s activities and special events throughout the year, visit neworleanscitypark.com.
Hope you all enjoyed a very happy and safe Fourth of July holiday.
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