Don’t Take The ‘Best Day of the Year’ for Granted

Dr. Seuss teaches us that the Grinch can’t stop Christmas.

We’ll need to find reassurance from somewhere else that neither a shooter (nor a referendum) can steal our July Fourth celebrations away.

I was driving home from Goar Park after spending Independence Day morning working at People Newspapers’ booth when I heard a report about paradegoers gunned down in a Highland Park.

Should I feel guilty for feeling relieved to realize it was the one in Illinois?

A date that Park Cities People’s founder and former parade planner Kirk Dooley calls the “single best day of the year in the Park Cities” had become the worst of days somewhere else.

That other park city is not quite as far away as we like to think.

A northern Illinois native, Sarah Oliai is familiar with the suburb 25 miles north of Chicago.

She led the Rotary Club of Park Cities parade committee and got the shocking notification on her phone while helping with the festivities in University Park.

“I think everybody who attended a parade that day thought about it,” Oliai told my colleague Rachel Snyder. “Particularly (in Highland Park, Texas), the names are very similar. Same name, different state.”

By July 5, a reader had tagged Rotary and the newspaper on social media with a photo of a Humvee equipped with two rifles and asked questions about its appropriateness after recent shootings like the one in Uvalde: “Can you agree we could have a ‘no guns’ parade?”

Military vehicles have long participated in the parade, but Oliai said planners would discuss the issue and safety.

 “There’s a special street they line up on, and we have a lot of veterans in our community who enjoy (seeing them),” she said. “With the news that happened later, I can certainly understand why (some of the military vehicles) would cause great concern.”

How concerned should we be about other recent news with July Fourth implications?

Used to be that modern secession talk was either Texas bravado or the purview of kooks. Now it’s discussed during platform meetings held by the state’s ruling party.

I am not one who aspires to retire outside the United States, but if I did, I’d want it to be because I changed my mind, not because the ground beneath me suddenly became its own country.

We recite the Pledge of Allegiance at weekly Rotary meetings and sing the Star Spangled Banner. The biggest project each year is the Park Cities Fourth of July Parade.

It’s hard to fathom our Legislature putting a secession referendum on the ballot as soon as November 2023 (or ever).

And when I think about the American flag-waving, parade-loving neighbors of the Park Cities, I can’t envision even the most conservative of them voting in favor.

Surely, I’m right?

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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