BRANDON — Trent and Addison English sat on yellow plastic chairs, waved red, white and blue American flags and had no real idea of the significance of the events swirling around them.
“This is fun,” said Trent English, 5, as his sister Addison, 3, smiled and waved her flag.
For the siblings, the Brandon Fourth of July Parade they were waiting for isn’t just another day to collect beads. The parade is family tradition. In a short while, a woman named Hazel Henderson would ride by.
Henderson, 98, is not just the oldest living graduate of Brandon High School. She’s the English sibling’s great, great, great grandmother.
“I’ve been coming here for years,” said Cindy English, 55, the children’s grandmother. “It used to be held on State Road 60, which was a small two-lane road then.”
In all, 17 floats and 100 groups took part in the parade, run by the Community Roundtable. In addition to Independence Day, the parade celebrated Brandon High School’s 100th anniversary.
For Gerard Abbett, 65, the parade was a time to reflect.
A Vietnam veteran who was wounded three times and received two Purple Heart medals, Abbett says the parade is a sign of how much things have changed since 1968, when he returned to Cambridge, Mass, from the war.
“We were not treated very well,” said Abbett, a parade volunteer. “It’s very nice to see all the support for the troops today.”