July 5, 2013

Celebrating independence and the 'American Way'

By Sharon Rice, Editor, The Friday Flyer

Credit: Barbara Spraul

During this 4th of July weekend in Canyon Lake, the Memorial Park in the Towne Center, as photographed this week by Barbara Spraul, reminds residents of many kinds of "heroes."

First, of course, are those who fought and died for the birth of our country 237 years ago. Over two centuries, many wars have been waged and many have fought and died in defense of the freedoms claimed in America's founding document, the Declaration of Independence.

The Veterans Memorial Monument honors the veterans of those wars as well as members of the military now serving in different branches of the armed forces.

Also in Memorial Park is the Business of the Year Walk of Fame, which boasts stepping stones to honor Canyon Lake businesses that have had a big impact in the community. The Business Walk of Fame is named for the late Marty Gibson, former mayor and owner of Pepe's Restaurant. Marty is best remembered for the many hours and dollars he and his business contributed to the betterment of his community.

The Walk of Fame was the vision of former Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lee Clark and other members of the Chamber of Commerce who strive to help local businesses succeed.

The Memorial Park also is a testament to volunteers from the Veterans Day Committee, led by Nancy Horton, who persevered in their vision and fundraising efforts to create the park and erect the monument in time for Veterans Day 11-11-11. This was done in partnership with business owners from the Merchant Owners Association, who contributed space for the park, along with many others who contributed funds.

In a sense, the park is testament to countless volunteers who give of their time, talents and money every year, year after year, to make Canyon Lake a better place.

For this week, and with this photograph, The Friday Flyer also wants to honor those who serve this community in the area of public safety: Police and Fire. Rarely are they named by name, but those who are helped and whose lives have been saved do not forget their service.

This week has been a week of mourning for 19 firefighters who died last weekend in the Yarnell Hill, Arizona fire. As Canyon Lakers continue their Independence Day celebration throughout this weekend, may they remember to pray for the families and friends of those firefighters, and to thank all those who have made it possible for them to enjoy this "little bit of paradise."