The final boom of fireworks has ceased (at least I hope so) and the last morsels from hot dogs and bratwurst have been devoured. And so we put to bed another Independence Day celebration in Riverside and surrounding communities. 

Flags still adorn light poles, and wouldn’t it be nice if they remained just as a reminder? At the Kosey house, the patriotic bunting has been put away as well as any other decorations of significance; we do, however, fly the American flag on a daily basis. That is Husband Joe’s job, and he would like to encourage more households to do the same.

Riverside has expanded its celebration over the past few years, from “there isn’t going to be anything” to “we sure got something good going.” Growing up Riverside, I always was in attendance for The Fourth, but this year I heard a comment made more than once which is one I have always believed in — that Riverside is the place to come back to for celebrating Independence Day. From my vantage point at the Friends of the Fourth booth in Guthrie Park, I saw more people greeting each other who had either moved away or had come to join the fun.

This year the group at the concert on July 3 seemed larger than ever. Squatters staked their claims to small sections in Guthrie Park before dawn. It appeared that even an ant would not have had space. I was asked numerous times about how many people were there. I don’t know, and it was hard to get a count, but it was a lot.

The event on July 3 was a far cry from when the late Jack Gelsomino would bring out the Chicago Pops orchestra to entertain those assembled with primarily patriotic music. Times have changed. 

Years back politicians were not encouraged to appear in the parade as either candidates or as elected officials. Yes, things have changed.

There were no problems — oh, maybe a few lost kids who were safely returned — and I only gave out one bandage. I have time to restock my July 4 bag with Band-Aids and glow sticks for next year.

It’s sad to see that Robin and Dan Mooney are moving from Riverside, but their final block party was a great send-off, with music by the Redmonds. They promise they will still come around, and I bet one of those times will be on a July 3 and 4 in Riverside, because everyone comes back.