Athens Celebrates Independence Day In Style

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Fire trucks, royalty and horses dominated the annual Athens Fabulous Fourth parade on Friday morning, but for some of those attending the parade the holiday means much more than the yearly trip uptown to “catch candy.”

“Celebrating independence of the country I love and served to protect for 13 years …” said Tim Russell of Guysville, who returned six months ago from a deployment in Afghanistan. That tour of duty was his third deployment.

“It’s America’s birthday,” said Carrie Mays, while her daughter, Ava Withem, added, “It’s Mom’s birthday.”

For 7-year old Ava, it was also about fireworks. She added her least favorite part of the Fourth of July events though was the


The Roush family of Albany makes sure to use the holiday festivities as a learning experience for their children, Jasper, 5 and Ruby, 2.

“Well I think it means, for us, bringing our kids, it is the birthday of our country. I think it’s the greatest country in the world, so to be here and to celebrate this and to see the kids is what this is about. It’s an opportunity to explain to them what the Fourth of July is. It’s where we became a country and the country they’re going to grow up in and hopefully make it a better a country,” said Justin Roush.

He continued, “Well I think, being parents, I think for us it’s the fireworks and the parades and bringing our kids. Again, I think it’s opportunities for us to explain things to them.”

“Seeing their excitement,” was the best part of the events for Erin Roush.

Jasper added that the fireworks were his favorite part of the Fourth of July events.

“Seeing their excitement and then relaying that to what it’s really about,” said Justin Roush. “So the fireworks last night were fantastic. It was the first time she (Ruby) got to go and see them so it was a pretty big deal. And I think, again, as a parent, every activity you do is a segway into a lesson to teach.”

“Well I can tell you this; she’s the driving force in getting to these parades and things like that. It’s 9:30. It’s easy to stay in bed or flip on some cartoons but she (Erin) says, ‘Let’s go to these parades and tell our kids and teach our kids,’” Justin Roush concluded.