Fourth of July parades and patriotism

NAPPANEE & NORTH LIBERTY, Ind.-- The Fourth of July is a day to close down Main Streets across small-town America and come together to celebrate community and country.

Parades throughout Michiana honored first responders and veterans like Donnie Gaut.

"I went in the army in July of '69," he said.

A Vietnam veteran, Gaut said he remembers a very different time coming home from the war.

"We didn't get a warm welcome when we came back," he said. "It was a lot different then."

But on this Fourth of July, he was the Nappanee parade's Grand Marshal.

"It made me feel good, you know, that you got a Vietnam vet in there, people are actually cheering him, which was good, you know? 'cause it wasn't that way back in the day," said Guat's buddy and fellow Vietnam veteran, Lee Fairchild.

"I forgave all that stuff a long time ago," Gaut said. "That's all in the past. What's important is today."

He said seeing the crowd and feeling the love in the parade was emotional.

"Through God's grace, we were able to come home, a lot of people didn't," he said.

The streets of North Liberty were also packed with a patriotic display Thursday.

The spirit of the holiday transcends politics for many.

"I think it's being proud of where you live, and no matter what seems to be going on politically, or anything, it's more about the people and the general feeling you get being in the area," said Joseph Quartuch, who won Best in Parade in North Liberty.

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