Moving to a new home involves sifting through boxes of saved items which will not be making their way to the new home. For my good friend, Jean Kelly Galanti, who was raised in Riverside but has spent many years in Indianapolis and is now downsizing to another home in Indianapolis, it means going through “treasures” from her life in Riverside.
Not wanting these items to be tossed, she asked if I would be willing to find a suitable place for them, which I was all too happy to do.
Jean along with her brothers, Jim and Tom, and their parents, Jean and Jim, resided in two homes in Riverside. Her father, Jim, was a corporate attorney and very active in the village. So it was not too unusual to see a picture from 1934 at the opening of the Brookfield Zoo with the Kellys having a prominent place or a membership from the Riverside Golf Club.
What really caught my interest was the program from the 28th Annual Independence Day Celebration in Riverside on Monday, July 5, 1943. I can only imagine it was held on Monday the 5th since it was a tradition not to hold parades on a Sundays, so as not to interfere with church services.
The day began at 7 a.m. with the Boy Scout buglers blowing Reveille. The parade was to assemble at Scottswood and Bloomingbank at 8:45 a.m. and begin promptly at 9:30, winding its way to the Big Ball Park with the parade participants consisting of local scouting groups, village officials, the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce Civil Defense Unit and the Red Cross (it was wartime, after all) to name a few.
The flag ceremony took place at the Big Ball Park with Dr. L.J. Hauser presenting a service flag to Village President Phil Huntly. The “address” that year was given by none other than James J. Kelly.
This century-plus 100 year tradition in Riverside was in danger of ceasing a few years ago due to lack of funds. At that time a group was formed, known as the Friends of the Fourth (full disclosure, I was one of the founders of the group) to save the day.
Through the efforts of the Friends and the monetary support of village residents the July 4 festivities have continued each year in Riverside, with some of the same traditions seen in 1943.
The celebration has become bigger and better, and now includes a concert on July 3. The generosity of the residents shows that all are truly Friends of the Fourth, with the same spirit as the residents in 1943, including the Kelly family.
To learn more about the Friends of the Fourth visit their website at www.friendsofthefourth.com.