Despite the fact that it was raining and in the low 50s, many people still lined the downtown streets to watch the parade. A friend from out of town wondered if half the town was in the parade while the other half watched. Our parades do last for a few hours. We have fire engines making wonderful loud noises while firefighters throw candy and politicians march with their supporters, and kids ride their decorated bicycles, while the community band plays stirring music, and veterans from many wars march. There is more, much more. We usually clap for everyone who goes by, even if we aren't in the same political party, don't agree on environmental issues, or don't have the same religion. I think we clap because people care enough to be in the parade, to decorate a float, to march a few miles in the rain or in the sun, and to make it fun for the rest of the community. That is what the Fourth is all about: celebrating a common heritage with people who want to make their community a better place. And we don't need fireworks for that.