LANCASTER — In a time when a lot of Americans don’t see eye to eye on important issues, and the definition of what is or what isn’t patriotic is often debated, it’s important to remember where we all come from.

This is the kind of principle embraced by Mitch Oswald, who returned to his Lancaster roots this past Independence Day weekend to participate in the town’s Salute to Summer Fun events, highlighted by a parade on Thursday afternoon, organized by the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster Lions Club.

”There’s so much here that we do take for granted, we don’t even think about it,” Oswald said. “If you think about it, there’s people from other countries that are literally risking everything just to come to our country and have a chance to have what we have here. So that itself speaks to the type of freedoms, luxuries, whatever that we are celebrating now.”

Lancaster Mayor Tim Callahan, who put events together, says he’s happy to see everyone come back to town and join together in celebrating Lancaster’s love for America.

”There’s a lot of families who have had kids here that have grown up and gone away, but it seems like a lot of them come back on the Fourth for yard parties, to watch the fireworks together and participate in the parade,” he said. “It’s just a great time for everyone to relax and have fun together on this special day.”

Aside from the parade, the Lions Club set up shop in the Lancaster City building, serving savory sloppy joes, cheesy potatoes and cole slaw for a free will donation to the general public, and the city held a grand fireworks display following the conclusion of daytime events.

Lancaster resident Bob Carr said his heart fills with pride for Lancaster and for the country in watching the parade as it proceeded down Kansas Street.

”It’s great to see old friends and see how things have changed, to see what’s new, to see old acquaintances again,” Carr said. “It’s a reminder of all the freedoms that we have and what that means to all of us.”

Marcus Clem can be reached via marcus.clem@atchisonglobenow.com or on Twitter @AdAstraGorilla

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