In light of recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the movements and protests taking place all over the world, the usual sentiments of the July 4 holiday mean something a little more. As we take time to reflect and celebrate the freedoms we are all so fortunate to have and gather with family to take part in barbecues, special events and firework spectaculars, we are even more aware of how special they are. Now, more than ever, it is clear how grateful we must all be for our freedom, for our loved ones, for making memories and for a beautiful and safe hometown.
We are so pleased that the World’s Oldest Rodeo continued for its 133rd year, and while it may have looked a little different this year, the celebration of our Western heritage dazzled spectators once again. It is such an honor to host this globally recognized event each and every year, and celebrate the contestants at the rodeo while also taking in the myriad of events that coincide with it.
The annual Prescott Frontier Days Parade increases the camaraderie in this community as we join in the heart of downtown to cheer, wave flags, clap and celebrate the various community groups that help make this city great. Whether the entries are youth organizations, cool cars, equestrian groups, cultural groups or those who serve our city, the parade route is packed with families, visitors, neighbors and new friends. This year, hosting the World’s Oldest Rodeo from June 29 through July 6, celebrating the parade on Saturday, July 4, dancing the night away at the Rodeo Dance each evening from July 2 – July 4 and enjoying the beautiful Fourth of July fireworks show over Watson Lake reflects not only the joy of the holiday but the resilience and strength of our community.
This time of year as I realize how blessed I am, I also remember what we’ve lost, as I pause and reflect on 19 young men who gave their lives on June 30, 2013, battling the Yarnell Hill Fire. The Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew was a team of true heroes and we will never forget the sacrifice they made for our community.
Now, we have the opportunity to continue to honor their memories through the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center at our own Prescott Gateway Mall. More than three years ago, a team of dedicated volunteers worked diligently to create a non-profit group that would oversee and display the thousands of artifacts and pieces left at the tribute fence following the tragedy. The center tells the story of the Hotshots and displays artifacts, memorabilia and is a way to educate and inspire residents and visitors. In addition, the center also educates visitors on wildland fire prevention and firefighting. I encourage everyone to take in this experience and take a moment to remember and honor these men. If you are moved to do so, you can volunteer at the center to help continue their work. For hours and information, go to GMIHC19.org.
Prescott represents what is wonderful about our state and our country. The bravery, resiliency and giving character of our citizens fills me with pride at all times but particularly now in the face of much adversity. I hope each and every one of you will enjoy this Fourth of July; fill it with family, reflection and celebration. God Bless Prescott! QCBN
By Greg Mengarelli
Greg Mengarelli is the mayor of Prescott.