July 4 celebrations are already a month in the past (it’s hard to believe). Is there any celebration that stirs more passion, love, intensity and a caring for our country and each other?

Veterans Park hosted the North Riverside celebration, a beautiful day full of fun and excitement, with honor and caring for every veteran as well as every participant. As I walked to and from the celebration, I mingled in. I must have been greeted by 75 to 100 smiling faces, all offering a positive, happy greeting.

Mayor Hermanek, town trustees, the fire chief, police chief and most department heads, along with their co-workers all appeared full of smiles.

The scouts, ballplayers and all other young people’s groups all appeared in a great parade led by many special floats, all filled with smiling faces.

Mayor Hermanek hosted the festivities and they opened with the National Anthem sung by Rosemary Santoro. Rosemary sings in church, Circle of Sound groups and any village activity as needed. Rosemary started out great and finished on a tremendous high, as good as Kate Smith had ever done.

I cried and saw seniors, adults, all families, young people and even a couple of toddlers captivated to tears and misty eyes in perfect silence uplifted to a new high of sensitivity.

In a few minutes we all realized what a great country we have and what a tremendous community North Riverside is – from top to bottom.

Thank you, Rosemary and every person and group who helped make this Fourth of July celebration so warm and touching.

Jim Zak

North Riverside