This is a Fourth of July we'll never forget

Holidays always trigger a lot of memories, and Independence Day is no exception.

One of my favorite Fourth of July holidays is quite possibly one of yours as well. In 2013 the Hinsdale parade featured none other than Coach Q and the Stanley Cup. When the fire engine he was riding on made the turn from Garfield Avenue onto First Street, you could hear the roar of the crowd from more than a block away.

The first Hinsdale parade I ever attended is etched in my mind as well, for an entirely different reason. I was approaching my one-year anniversary as a proofreader at The Doings, where I also handled the Kids Club page. It was the 20th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon. We built a giant papier-mâché moon to put on our float, and I created a handout for kids. I made a little typo, and instead of listing that historic event as taking place in 1969, our flier read 1989. Several bottles of White Out and lots of teasing later, I and several co-workers had turned thousands of 8’s into 6’s.

I spent one Fourth of July with my husband in Italy. While we missed the parade, barbecue and fireworks we usually enjoy, we managed to console ourselves with breathtaking views and homemade pasta and gelato.

Then there’s the year we spent the Fourth in Saugatuck, where we were astonished by the number of boats in the harbor, and the one we spent in Beecher, where we were astonished by the number of tractors in the parade.

When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to watch fireworks at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, which wasn’t far from where my grandma lived. The Fourth of July celebration there was a major production, with marching bands and — if memory serves — people parachuting onto the football field.

Probably my most memorable Fourth of July was the one we spent in Hinsdale, Montana, in 2016. We wrote about all the Hinsdales in the U.S. in conjunction with the paper’s 10th anniversary. I chose the farthest and least-populated so we could tack on a visit to South Dakota, where Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and my husband’s Uncle Glenn reside.

Montana’s Hinsdale has only 216 residents, so it seemed wise to visit during its Milk River Days celebration July 3-4.

We enjoyed the rodeo (my first ever!), the parade (that traveled up one side of the street, then turned around and headed back down the other) and the fireworks (which almost had to be canceled due to drought). My favorite part of the trip, though, was talking to the folks who lived there, including one man who spent $800 on two pies auctioned off for the emergency department fundraiser.

Hinsdale, Montana, and our Hinsdale don’t have a whole lot in common, but we will on July 4. Neither town will celebrate our country’s birthday the way we usually do because of COVID-19.

I know there will be moments Saturday when I miss the hallmarks of this holiday and start to feel a little sorry for myself. But I know that in 365 short days, the Fourth of July will roll around again. By that time, we hope and pray, a vaccine will have made COVID-19 a thing of the past. And we can celebrate once more.

— Pamela Lannom is editor

of The Hinsdalean.

Readers can email her at

[email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean