Celebrating Independence Day in Small Town America

Across the United States millions of Americans are celebrating Independence Day with parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks. The town of Murdock Nebraska is no different. However, our story is a little unique because you see it is a village of under 400 people. The town is joined by Elmwood Nebraska just six miles south and we form the community of Elmwood-Murdock joined together by our schools and with a total population of around a thousand people.

The day starts off with a 5K Dillon Synovec Memorial Run at 7:30 am and then continues with a parade, lunch hosted by the Lions Club, pie at the church, firemans water fight, tractor pull, softball games, and fireworks at the end of the night.

Patriotic pride on Independence Day

Honor guard during the 4th of July Parade

Honor guard during the 4th of July Parade

However during the 4th of July parade and Independence Day parade we grow to probably close to a thousand people. That is no joke. Our parade is one of the best around and over an hour long. You can see the sidewalks packed with people and this goes on for an amazing three blocks of main street. Well actually people are also sitting in their yards on the parade route also, but the announcers stand is on Main St (3rd Ave).

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My friends always bring their donkeys and throw candy from the home made barrels on the side. Chris dresses up in his red and white “Husker” coveralls which double for the 4th of July.

Patriotic Spirit celebrating Independence Day

Patriotic Spirit celebrating Independence Day

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There wouldn’t be a country Independence Day parade without some antique tractors decked out in 4th of July bunting, and this one is an oldie. I’ve never even heard of a Rumley tractor before, obviously this brand is no longer made and was built before inflatable tires.

Tractor in the 4th of July parade

Tractor in the 4th of July parade

The marching band from Elmwood-Murdock high school marches, and because it’s the 4th and not a competition they are allowed to wear shorts and an school T-shirt. My daughter played the drums in school and during her senior year she moved up to the quads which is a coveted position. She felt like a “beast” when she played the quads.

Bass drum and the quads marching during the parade

My daughter on quads marching during the parade

After the parade one of the local 4-H clubs gives out free watermelon. It’s a favorite with the crowds and a good appetizer to the lunch served after the parade put on by the Lions Club.

Watermelon on the 4th of July

Watermelon on the 4th of July

Can’t go wrong with watermelon on the 4th of July, it’s a holiday tradition.

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The day continues with a tractor pull and one of my favorite activities the Fireman’s water fight. The local volunteer fire departments from about 8-10 towns in the area compete for bragging rights (and I’m sure a few beers) in water fights. The object of the game is to push the 55 gal barrel down the wire using the force from the water hose. If it’s hot the spray from the fire hoses are a welcome relief to the hot sun. It’s so much fun watching the little kids play in the water. (My daughter is sitting with our dog Leah to the left of the picture)

Celebrating the 4th of July with Fireman water fights

Fire Department Water Fights

For most kids the favorite part of celebrating Independence Day is the fireworks. This year my husbands family took a cross country trip from New York to tour the Western United States. They stopped by our house and the teenagers were so excited to light fireworks. Fireworks aren’t legal for the “regular” person to light in Buffalo. There are kid safe fireworks that are legal in all 50 states and small kids really don’t know the difference.

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Celebrating Independence Day with Fireworks

Celebrating Independence Day with Fireworks

However you celebrate Independence Day, have a safe one, hug your families, salute the flag and remember we are celebrating our freedom, the birth of our country and all that we hold dear and take for granted: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, and freedom from tyranny. Our military fought for our freedom from the British in the 1700’s and continues to fight for those who suppress freedom around the world.

How Are You Celebrating Independence Day This Year?

Leave me a note below, I’d love to hear your traditions.


3 thoughts on “Celebrating Independence Day in Small Town America

  1. Hi…just wanted to share my feelings about 4th of July. Right now, I’m at home, listening to fireworks going off in Portland, Me (held off one day due to hurricane Arthur) . Not a big one fot crowds and fireworks, I have been reflecting on my ancestors, over 200 years ago. My 5x g. Grandfather was a Captain in the Rev.War, under George Washington. Benjamin Harris signed the Albemarle, VA Dec. Of. Independence. (Actually a few years later than 1776). How different this day was for them!! i am thankful to them and all who fought. for the freedom we take for granted today. Also thinking of wonderful memories of past…when parents and relatives were still alive. The parades, barbeques, large family get-togethers,etc .Feeling a little melancholy, but thank:ful and blessed also. Just wondering,, will future generations know The Pledge. Of Allegiance? Happy 4th of July, everyone!

    1. What a wonderful family heritage. I’m getting chills just reading it, you have a lot to be proud of on Independence Day. Thank you so much for writing and your family’s service to our country.

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