32nd Annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade in LaGrange teaches patriotism to next generation

The 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty parade is showing how the legacy of a longstanding tradition is teaching the next generation about the price of freedom.
The 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty parade is showing how the legacy of a longstanding tradition is teaching the next generation about the price of freedom.

LAGRANGE, Ga. – An Independence Day parade is showing how the legacy of a longstanding tradition is teaching the next generation about the price of freedom.

The 32nd Sweetland of Liberty parade brought people and pets of all sorts to the city square. Lynne Holle says she’s proud to be from LaGrange, and she’s proud to be an American. Holle’s parents, Jim and Annette Boyd, created the parade in 1985 in order to pass on the patriotic legacy of American history. And more than three decades later, Holle is teaching kids the bittersweet sacrifice and toil to takes to enjoy freedom.

“Be happy and realize the sacrifices so many people have given for you to be free and to be able to do this,” Holle said.

For people born and raised in LaGrange like Sarah Cook, the 2016’s parade comes full circle. Cook took home a prize some years ago in the same event. Now, she’s handing prizes out to eager and creative kids as a parade organizer.

“It’s crazy now to run it to see what it’s really like on the outside,” Cook said. “It’s really cool.”

2016 marks the first year since the Sweetland Amphitheatre installation that the parade kicked off at Boyd Park. Mayor Jim Thornton says the parade builds excitement among the community.

“It’s really a two-fold celebration,” Mayor Thornton said. “We’re both commemorating Independence Day, but we’re also celebrating the young people. And I think that this is something that will inspire young people to learn more about American history.”

From one generation to the next, the community’s continuing cause to raise a flag to freedom symbolizes the unity that binds a nation together.

“Freedom is not free,” Holle notes. “Everybody needs to stand together and enjoy this nation…one nation under God.”

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