MERIDIAN — Roberta Dixon has been trying to get her fellow residents at Tramore Senior Apartment Homes to agree to a Fourth of July parade since she moved to the apartments three years ago.
“Everyone here is pretty patriotic,” Dixon said. “I just thought it would work here.”
That vision came to life on Thursday when members of the 62 and older retirement community came out dressed in red, white and blue to celebrate Independence Day. Friends and family watched from the sidelines as participants — some using canes, wheelchairs or walkers — looped around the Tramore parking lot in their Fourth of July parade.
John Daily and Kate Dye lead the parade in Daily’s convertible. Following behind them in his electric wheelchair was Duane Fusselman, dressed up as Uncle Sam. Fusselman was drafted into the Korean War in 1951 and received a purple heart after he was hit in the arm by a mortar fragment. While he was glad everyone was out celebrating, he said he wished it happened more often.
“Patriotism has taken a sad turn and seems to be out of style,” he said. “We should appreciate what we have.”
Dixon also dressed up, wearing a cowboy cat and riding a toy horse.
“You can’t have a parade without a horse,” she said.
Nancy Reed wore a sign with pictures of her family members who had served during the parade. On the sign were photos of her husband, who served in World War II and the Korean War, her brother-in-law and her great nephew among other family members. She said wearing the sign was the only way she could honor all the people who have served.
“We wouldn’t have our independence if it weren’t for them,” Reed said.
Reed’s husband passed away in 2009. To honor his service, and the service of every veteran and active duty member, she hangs an American flag from her porch every day and keeps a green light burning.
About 80 people live in the Tramore Senior Apartments. Donna Gibson, president of the apartments’ residents’ association, Young at Heart, said it can be difficult getting people involved.
“I see a lot of people out that haven’t been out much,” she said, noting after the parade there was great participation.
Dixon said she doesn’t know if Tramore will do another parade next Fourth of July, and said she was surprised so many people participated in the celebration.