MADISON, Wis. — A bright pink Barbie Corvette speeds past, and neighborhood kids squeal as the driver with the French braids and red-star sunglasses tosses a handful of sun-softened Tootsie rolls in their direction. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” plays triumphantly on a loop in the background from the speaker mounted on the back of the mini Cadillac Escalade.
While elected scolds around America, encouraged by their media cheerleaders, cancel parades, fireworks, and other celebrations of freedom on what should be the most patriotic day of the year, one family in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, is declaring a little independence of its own. Matthew and Julie Tanis organized a Power Wheels parade for their family, friends, and neighbors.
“A few weeks into quarantine, we decided to pick up some used Power Wheels to provide entertainment for the kids,” Matthew told The Federalist. Within a couple weeks, he had modified them with drill batteries to give them an extra power boost. “A month and 10 used Power Wheels later, we realized we had quite the collection on our hands, and our neighbors loved (and maybe hated) when we let all three kids tear up and down the street refining their drifting skills with suped-up cars.”
Little did they know how perfect the Power Wheels would be for Independence Day. Sprays of red-white-and-blue streamers trail behind the plastic Power Wheels as they fly by, and Uncle Sam zooms by on a Razor scooter. Matthew leads the pack, his rig pulling a child-sized parade float with a camouflage military transport perched on top. A stately American flag flaps proudly behind him above a sign thanking the troops for their service.
“Happy July 4th!” a neighbor calls out with a smile, and we all wave back with pride. “Happy Independence Day!”
“We’ve always enjoyed watching Fourth of July festivities and celebrating freedom with our community,” Matthew said. “When the city parade was called off, we opted to celebrate in our neighborhood. The Power Wheels parade came together somewhat last minute but was a great time bringing joy and smiles to our local neighborhood and friends. The hand-painted Army Jeep was a fun way to pay tribute to the military service men and women of our country.”
The creativity marking this single block in the Dairy State extends all across the United States of America today. It’s reflected in the BBQ block parties, the family poolside gatherings, the community fireworks displays, and Old Glory adorning house after house. It’s inspired by the same spirit that prompted a group of freedom-loving men 244 years ago to embark on one of the greatest experiments in history, “hold[ing] these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Today, we celebrate with freezer pops and sparklers what the Founding Fathers achieved with just quills, parchment, and a revolutionary idea that birthed the greatest nation on Earth.
Coronavirus and little tyrants can take the parade out of a city, but they can’t take the patriotism out of the people. Happy Independence Day, from the Power Wheels parade to you!