Independence Day 2013 was a special day for the communities of Southern Arizona’s San Pedro Valley. As in the past, the Fourth of July brought out a sense of a community as it seemed nearly everyone joined in the celebration from Benson, Pomerene, St. David and the surrounding areas.
In preparation for the holiday, members and Boy Scout troops from the Saint David and Patton Wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lined the streets with flags. In St. David, the day began with members gathering early outside the meetinghouse for a flag raising, prayer, patriotic songs and speeches. From there the crowds gathered along the parade route leading into Benson. The roads and highway filled with floats, horses and riders, with townspeople picking out their favorite spots along the parade route.
As the parade passed them by, children waved their flags and ran to be the first to get the pieces of candy handed out by people on the floats. After the parade, everyone joined in to clean up with many heading to the park and the activities there, with hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, and ice cream. The festivities ended in Benson with the fireworks and laser light show.
Karen Preston, of St. David, summed up the feelings of many about this special day, “Unlike in some of the more populated areas, here there is a real sense of our connectedness and there is the down-home feel of an old-fashioned Fourth of July.”