Every year you can count on it. Rain or shine, it will happen. It isn't always on the same day, but it will come, guaranteed.
And you count the days until it arrives. You wish for the days to shorten so it can come sooner. You struggle to push through the days leading up as you try to contain your excitement. Finally, it comes. The Fourth of July Parade is here once again.
As a child growing up in Bexley, the annual Fourth of July Parade was the single greatest event of the summer.
The spectacle was almost overwhelming. The floats, the people, the candy, the festivities. I would watch the parade at the Weinsteins' house on Sherwood each year with all of my family and friends. There was nothing that could surpass it.
Going and observing the parade was a treat, but the real honor was being able to be a part of the parade.
My father owns many trucks due to his business and he usually allows a few floats in the parade to borrow them. Sometimes, I would be allowed to travel along in the car, gazing out the window in awe at the onlookers I was passing.
I might give an occasional wave to people I knew or toss a handful of candy out into the crowd, watching a group of children spring to it, but I never forgot to take it all in.
I always savored each moment I got to spend peering out of that window, enjoying everything I was experiencing.
I still go to the parade every year, even though I'm no longer a child. No, it doesn't have the same lure as it once did. I am not astounded by the number of people or stunned by the floats. But I still go all the same like I have every other year of my life. It isn't as awe-inspiring as it once seemed, however it is just as meaningful.
I didn't realize it when I was younger, but what makes the Bexley Fourth of July Parade so incredible is the community.
It is everybody coming out to celebrate one common theme, spending several hours outside in the hot sun together. What I was witnessing as a child was Bexley flexing its muscles and proving that it is such a strong community.
Now as a young adult I have come to this realization of this meaning, the meaning that has always been there.
In August, I will ship off for college, leaving Bexley behind, but what I will never leave behind is the community that sits outside every July and watches the floats travel through the otherwise calm streets of the city.
I will always carry a part of this community with me wherever life takes me. I may not be here to enjoy it, but I will always be a part of the Fourth of July Parade.
Justin Meyer graduated from Bexley High School in May 2013.