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Small Town, USA Featured

Written by  Tuesday, 11 July 2017 09:12
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By Rep. Rick West


Sometimes I think it can be easy for those of us living in southeast Oklahoma to take for granted the picturesque towns we get to call home. But last week during Wister’s annual Fourth of July parade, I couldn’t help but get choked up thinking about how perfect our communities can be.


This event was the classic small town, big parade ordeal. It had old cars, horses, and children dressed up waving their American flags. There were members of the Choctaw nation, veterans and cowboys for blocks and blocks. People tossed candy, ate countless hot dogs at the local fire station and listened to Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA’ over and over again.


I had the honor of riding in a four wheeler with my 7-year-old grandson Bryce through the whole parade, and I cannot overstate this: it was absolutely perfect.
The weather was great and the food was delicious. As I drove along watching all the parade participants and onlookers, I realized just how much we have to be thankful for here in LeFlore County. The fact is, not every community invests in itself the way we do in House District 3. I would bet my best steer that folks in Russia or another country don’t celebrate similar holidays with even half as much patriotism. Yet here we are, waving our flags and teaching our children and grandchildren what it means to be an American.


This parade was the epitome of rural American small towns. The pride Wister has for itself is palpable, and it’s visible in the hard working people who try to better this community day after day.


I hope this tradition continues for decades. I would be thrilled to pieces if I knew my grandson Bryce was riding his horse down the streets of Wister in the July 4th parade 40 years from now. And it’s not just because the event is a fun event for the entire family. It’s because this parade – and the patriotism it breeds – seeps out into other areas of our lives.


We teach our kids about the cost of freedom and why we celebrate independence from a tyrannical country. We don our red, white and blue to show veterans that we appreciate what they’ve done and what their colleagues continue to do for us on the battlefield. We celebrate American independence the way we celebrate a sibling’s birthday. We sing, dance and cheer because without our independence, we wouldn’t be the same.


I hope you enjoyed the parade as much as I did, and if you didn’t get to see it, I hope you’re able to enjoy another small-town event soon. There’s really nothing quite like them.


Rick West represents House District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 405-557-7413.

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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