You might not have known that the area was reopening from a pandemic on the morning of July 3 in Riverside and Brookfield. Frankly, we weren’t sure just how many people would turn out for the parades, which we’d been told were going to feature far fewer entries as organizations eased back into the world.

When we turned the corner from Delaplaine Road onto Longcommon at about 9 a.m., the sight was amazing. The curbs were packed with people, front-yard parties were back and people hungry for the familiarity of the nation’s annual July 4 celebration smiled and called out enthusiastically for those in the parade.

The scene was the same in Brookfield – though to be honest, making the turn from Garfield Avenue onto Grand Boulevard was kind of amazing. There may have been more people than ever.

In both villages, however, one thing was the same. When the Landmark’s parade entry passes by, many sitting in lawn chairs, standing on the sidewalks and sitting on front porches never fail to shout out their support of the local newspaper, often greeting us by name.

It’s humbling and wonderful, and those moments underscore how great it is to serve the residents of our communities.