Independence Day

July 4, 1776

Between the fields where the flag is planted
there are 9+ miles of flower fields that go all
the way to the ocean. The flowers are grown
by seed companies. It's a beautiful place close
to Vandenberg AFB. Checkout the dimensions
of the flag.

The 2002 Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; Each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants with 4-5 flower stems each for a total of more than 2 million flowers.
You can drive by this flag on V Street south
of Ocean Ave. in Lompoc, CA.

Aerial photo courtesy of Bill Morson Soldiers' Prayer
Courtesy of my Niece, Shari, of VA - 07/03/04
Thanks, Shari!
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64)  of VA - 07/04/04
Thanks, Dave!

Emeline Melissa Harty
b. 14 Oct 2001

From Billy Turner ('65) of TX – 06/26/03:

The local paper asked me and the other Dallas area mayors to provide a short piece on what Independence Day means to me. The next day I e-mailed this to the reporter and she thought it was great. So often we do not take time to reflect on such things, much less to write it down so that it might be read by others. I readily admit that I became quite emotional thinking about my dad in this context. Hope you enjoy.

June 24, 2003

Independence Day, the Fourth of July, means different things to different people. Hot Dogs and hamburgers, lemonade, watermelon, home-made ice cream, family and friends flood my memory bank. I also remember Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes and massive fireworks displays, not to mention the patriotic music that still sends chills down my spine. The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful and the Battle Hymn of the Republic will stick with me for evermore; but most of all I remember my father, that proud man who served his country well as a U. S. Marine. Seriously wounded at Iwo Jima, he came home to live the “American Dream.” He married, bought a home, had a son and worked hard all his life to provide for his family. He never talked about the war or his wounds, but I found out after he died in 1990 that he left a big part of himself on that hell hole in the South Pacific. What does Independence Day mean to me? It means freedom, liberty, sacrifice and service. Thank you dad and for others like you who paid with their blood so that we can live free, independent yet inter-dependent lives in the good old U.S.A.

Bill Turner - NNHS, Class of '65

Mayor, Ovilla, Texas

4th of July 1967

A Soldier’s Story

It was July 4th, 1967. John Howard (NNHS class of '66) was 19 years old, 
and his platoon (101st Air borne Division) were out on patrol in Viet Nam.
They had not had baths in months.
They found themselves in a little open area in the jungle,
surrounded by hills with a riverbed that was dry but still had a stream.
The walls around the riverbed were about 7 ft. tall and about 20 or 30 ft. across.
In the middle there was a stream.
Not having had baths for months, it seemed safe enough to jump into the water, which was not very deep.
Instead of setting up a perimeter like they should have,
the men began to throw off the equipment and clothes and get into the water.
Not long after, they began receiving enemy fire, pinning them down in this small riverbed. 
Humor prevailed even in a life threatening situation.
The sight of nude soldiers returning fire wearing only boots, steel "pots", a
nd ammo belts while trying to get clothes on at the same time was just too 
The hysterical image of a lot of bare rears in his face still makes John laugh.
They could not get out as they were pinned down and had to call in the Air Force
who dropped napalm on the enemy so the soldiers could clear out safely.
Miraculously, no one was injured.
It was the 4th of July and the napalm lit the sky up like fireworks.
The only thing missing were the hot dogs!
The humor seemed to outweigh the danger that day.
God was surely present...

- Cheryl Mays Howard (NNHS, Class of '66) of VA - 06/27/03

Thanks, Cheryl - and John!

The Infantryman

The average age of the Infantryman is 19 years.
He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who,
under normal circumstances is considered by society
as half man, half boy.
Not yet dry behind the ears,
not old enough to buy a beer,
but old enough to die for his country.
He never really cared much for work
and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's..
but he has never collected unemployment either.
He's a recent High School graduate..
he was probably an average student,
pursued some form of sport activities,
drives a ten year old jalopy,
and has a steady girlfriend
that either broke up with him when he left,
or swears to be waiting when he returns
from half a world away.
He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop
or rap or jazz or swing
and 155mm Howitzers.
He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now
than when he was at home
because he is working or fighting
from before dawn to well after dusk.
He has trouble spelling,
thus letter writing is a pain for him,
but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds
and reassemble it in less time in the dark.
He can recite to you the nomenclature
of a machine gun or grenade launcher
and use either one effectively if he must.
He digs foxholes and latrines
and can apply first aid like a professional.
He can march until he is told to stop
or stop until he is told to march.
He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation,
but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.
He is self-sufficient.
He has two sets of fatigues...
he washes one and wears the other.
He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.
He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth,
but never to clean his rifle.
He can cook his own meals,
mend his own clothes,
and fix his own hurts.
If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you..
if you are hungry, his food.
He'll even split his ammunition with you
in the midst of battle when you run low.
He has learned to use his hands like weapons
and weapons like they were his hands.
He can save your life - or take it,
because that is his job.
He will often do twice the work of a civilian,
draw half the pay
and still find ironic humor in it all.
He has seen more suffering and death
then he should have
in his short lifetime.
He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies,
and helped to create them.
He has wept in public and in private,
for friends who have fallen in combat
and is unashamed.
He feels every note of the National Anthem
vibrate through his body
while at rigid attention,
while tempering the burning desire to
'square-away' those around him
who haven't bothered to stand,
remove their hat,
or even stop talking.
In an odd twist,
day in and day out,
far from home,

he defends their right to be disrespectful.
Just as did his Father,
Grandfather, and Great-grandfather,
he is paying the price for our freedom.
Beardless or not, he is not a boy.
He is the American Fighting Man
that has kept this country free
for over 200 years.
He has asked nothing in return,
except our friendship and understanding.
Remember him, always,
for he has earned our respect and admiration
with his blood

(Let's not forget the young women who serve and protect out country, too.)

(This selection courtesy of my niece, Shari, of VA - 07/01/03
Thanks, Shari!)

The Declaration of Independence

The 4th of July


Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
 Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and
tortured before they died.

 Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
 Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
 Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
 They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and
their sacred honor.
 What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants,
nine were farmers and large plantation owners: men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
 Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.
 Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
 Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery Hall,
Clymer, Walton, Gwinett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was
destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
 Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for
their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
 Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.
These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall and straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the
support of the declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."
 They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books told you a lot of what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and
we fought our own government!
 Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we
shouldn't. So take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
 Remember: Freedom is never free! I hope you show your support by sharing this with as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that Patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than picnics, and baseball games. 

unknown writer

(This selection courtesy of Cheryl Mays Howard of VA
(NNHS - Class of '66) - 07/02/03
Thanks, Cheryl!)


Watch the movie, 1776 (1972) *** ~~~ Enjoy the fantastic music and learn to appreciate your history in the process!

* Have a picnic

* Go see a municipal fireworks display

* Be careful! 


Hi Carol - Enjoyed this.  Thank you.  And also for the fireworks over the Statue of Liberty. 
A very important lady to me.  My father brought me and 3 other siblings by himself from Belfast,
Northern Ireland to USA in 1946 for a better life - and I am forever grateful.  We sailed in on 
US Washington, passed the Statue of Liberty, and an uncle whom we had never met greeted us
at the New York Docks.  What a sight we must have been - a 45 year old father carrying a wooden
suitcase which he made - and the four of us in tow.  :)  The uncle took us to his apartment in
Philadelphia for showers :) and then put us on a train for eastern shore.  My Grandfather had
come to the USA in 1920 - and he lived In the Mariners' Museum Area - long before any of us
lived there.  He greeted us at the ferry at the Chamberlin Hotel, took us to his lovely home to live
until we bought a small bungalow in Stuart Gardens.........that's where the Good Life began - and
all of the wonderful childhood friends and their parents were certainly instrumental in my "raising." 
To this very day I am still very close to special friends such as Tzina Zwerdling ('58) , LaRhue Nettles
('58), Nancy Bigger ('56), Sandra Weaver ('56) - and Carolyn Todd ('58) and Mary Jo Edwards ('58) -
Maiden names.  Interesting that my first real job was at Ft. Monroe directly across the street from
the Chamberlin.....and that special ferry .......and I met my present husband, Dick, at Ft. Monroe and
was married at the Chapel of the Centurion, at Fort Monroe.  When I returned to Ireland for the first
time when I was 25 --- it totally changed my life.  I could see where I would have been - and it made
me eternally grateful for this Wonderful USA ---- Happy 4th of July to you and your family!!!!! 
Sincerely, Evelyn Fryer Fish 
- Evelyn Fryer Fish ('58) of TX - 07/04/04
 WOWZERS!!!  Evelyn, you totally blew me away with this one!  I had absolutely no idea! 
Some of my own ancestors were also from Belfast, but they came over in 1752, long after the majority
of my forebears, who arrived anywhere from 1623 to 1741.  Your story gave me shivers even before the
inevitable tears.....  Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful remembrance with us, Evelyn,
and for reminding us of things which we should never forget or take for granted!


hought you might like to see this link - it’s very good:

- Thelma Spade Roberts ('57) of VA - 07/08/04

Beautiful images - nice message!  Thanks, Thelma!


he Star Spangled Banner

- Francis Scott Key, September 20, 1814

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!



"The Star Spangled Banner" lyrics courtesy of - 06/22/04

"The Star Spangled Banner" midi courtesy of - 06/22/04

Animated "4th of July" Title clip art courtesy
of - 07/04/06


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