Photos courtesy of Dana Lee Fruend.

On July 4 in Caliente, the morning started with the 6 a.m. Sunrise Salute, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then the annual Fireman’s Breakfast began, complete with hotcakes, eggs, sausage, ham and bacon. After eating, people left the park to set up spots along the parade route. The Veterans of Foreign Wars came along before the start, handing out flags to the kids. As always, the VFW Color Guard led the parade down Front Street as people and children stood.

Mayor George Tommy Rowe escorted parade marshal Walter Wilcox, followed by the fire department, the Bureau of Land Management, floats filled with political candidates, local businesses, and Agape Baptist Church throwing candy to the excited kids following the parade on their bikes.

Then it was off to Dixon Park for games: gunny sack, wheelbarrow, and three-legged races. A watermelon-eating contest was followed by a money throw, which let people cool off and wash off the remains of watermelon. Kids scrambled as the firemen watered them down.

There were softball games and, as the day slowly came to a close, people gathered at the VFW for chili dogs while waiting for the fireworks. Street lights went off as music played in the background. The fireworks started off with a bang and ended the same way. It was a day filled with the thought of the freedoms we have and of those who served, are serving, and will continue to serve to maintain our freedom.