Proud to be An American Welcome & HistoryOn Saturday, July 6th, 2019 the 450 passenger Madam Carroll excursion boat filled with military veterans leads a line of 100+ patriotically decorated boats. The 15th annual PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN Patriotic Boat Parade to honor our military. The Hooligans precision flight demo team salutes the event with five aircraft. Water skiers thrill the crowd gathered on the Sportsman Inn reviewing stand to see the parade.
What follows the parade is a good old fashioned small town America Independence Day weekend celebration in the city park attended by 2000. Flag bearing sky divers kick it off with free hot dogs, free watermelon, free ice cream, free chips and free family games. The Indiana University LifeLine Helicopter lands in the park and the Jordan Manufacturing Cannonball Express (train replica) is on hand for free rides. Truly a family event.
Monticello mayor Ken Houston said it best: “This is the only event of its kind in the State of Indiana. What makes it even more spectacular is the simple fact that everything is free. Corporate donors underwrite all expense and provide all food, games and entertainment to not only the veterans but for the general public as well. This event certainly speaks volumes about patriotism and American values.”
This year we will salute veterans and soldiers of World War II and the Korean Conflict as our grand marshals. Indiana National Guard has supplied a list of some 250+ from this part of Indiana. A personal invitation letter will go out to each just before Memorial Day. Additionally you will see regular email and Facebook broadcasts to some 18,000 promoting this event. Each year we present a commemorative letter to our grand marshals. Past letters have included former president George H.W. Bush, Senator John McCain, General David Petraeous, then Indiana governors Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence, Eric Holcomb, and more.
We just have one “committee” meeting attended by 45-50 toward the end of April. Most of the key players have been with me since inception and know what to do.
The Madam Carroll is very generous in offering to do this each year. As long as they will continue we will keep going.
Honoring Our Veterans! Here is how it all began:
In 2005 a group of us were cleaning up after the annual SFLECC Fish Fry when fellow board member Steve Jones said: “Know what we ought to do? We should have a red, white and blue All-American parade of boats on Lake Freeman on July 4. We could ask the Madam Carroll to lead the parade and fill it with military.”
Joe Crivello’s response was “Great idea, Steve but would you please think of this three months ago as the 4th of July was in 3 weeks.”