Clinton neighborhood celebrates 4th of July - - Jackson, MS

Clinton neighborhood celebrates 4th of July

CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The children can barely contain their excitement, and even some adults have a spring in their step, as sirens blare and fire trucks and police cars roll by at the Billy Byrd neighborhood's annual 4th of July Parade.

Then, children themselves dazzle the crowd on decorated bicycles and ATV's.

"It's just as many wagons, bikes, trucks, there's usually more people in it than watching it," says spectator Jenny Thaggard.

Enjoying the parade is as easy as slicing up cool watermelon, grabbing a shady spot under a magnolia tree, and waving at the scene drifting by.

Participants throw candy, and little Owen McCleese has kept busy gathering it. Gum and stuff, as he calls it, showing us his newly acquired treasure.

"What is your favorite part of the parade?" we ask.

"When you get to eat candy," he says.

"I waved and tried to get as much candy as I could," says William McCleese.

Neil Stephens got help from his two kids and a neighbor to decorate his truck with red, white, and blue for the parade.

"We've been living here 13 years. The parade is 16 years old now. We haven't missed one in 13 years," he says.

After the parade, the fun lingers, thanks to Captain Andy Thaggard, a Billy Byrd resident who serves full-time in the Mississippi Army National Guard.

"We have an LMTV, light medium tactical vehicle. The newest generation of cargo/troop truck," he says, showing us the military vehicle parked in his yard, which also rolled down the street for the parade.

Captain Thaggard's son, Joseph Thaggard, understands the vehicle's multiple uses.

"That truck is used for the Army. It's also used in some movies like Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark," he says.

"People can ride in the back. There's a bench in there, two benches," says Celia Pennington, one of many children who climbed through the vehicle and sat in the front seat.

Fellowship within a neighborhood is something that has faded in American life in the past few decades. But in Clinton's Billy Byrd neighborhood, every 4th of July, it's preserved. 

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