Fourth of July TributeJun 19, 2023 02:45PM ● By Frances C. Hansen
He awakens, not sure what day it is. Is it January or July? Listens to songs on the radio. His life goes marching by.
When it was time for fireworks, he couldn’t recall the day that those colored flares and very loud sounds meant mortars were on the way. Moving slowly with his walker now, he doesn’t miss holiday picnics. He sits outside alone in his chair, hoping for someone to visit.
On Memorial Day two months ago he went downtown to the parade. He insisted on bringing that little flag as he sat by in the wheelchair and waved. Oh, he could have gone along with them—his brothers in war long ago, but he chose to stay on the sidelines, watched them, and bowed his head low.
And now it is the Fourth of July, and on the mirror in the car he can’t drive, the yellow and green poppy reminds him that he is alive.
The tremor in his hand shakes the pen and keeps him from writing his name. The vision that blurs keeps him from reading. Every day seems to be the same.
Sometimes he’ll speak to the “Big Boy,” forgetting the name of our son who helps him get to the chair and back when he can’t take more of the sun.
To think that once he was able to fight in 120 degrees and endure the orange mist that fell from skies as he helped cut out LZs. He didn’t hesitate to run out on the field while bullets whizzed past his head. They called him “Doc” as he ran to them and tried his best to keep them all from dead.
His family struggles from day to day, existing on God’s grace. Now he’s 47 years old and can’t even own his own place.
It seems he’s at the mercy of a system that doesn’t care. One day he remarked that he didn’t have to wait when they sent him over there.
He said there was no waiting then—when they needed him, he went. Off to “sunshine country” far away where there his youth was spent.
He asks to see the paper, says it will help if he gets employed. Then he can get us the car we need, the kids’ shoes, the rent, some toys.
I ever so gently remind him, he’s not able to work just yet. When he gets his miracle, that favorite job he’ll get.
Then I untie his shoes at the end of the day and call the kids to his side. “Say goodnight to Daddy,” I say, with tears in my eyes.
I tuck him in, turn off the clock. The hour is only eight. Then I take a deep sigh, put his radio on and again it proclaims the date.
The fourth of July, 1996—fireworks haven’t started yet.
I kiss his cheek and stroke his brow…“Good night, I love you, my vet.”
In memoriam: Philip J. Hansen, First Car, 8th Engineers, Vietnam 1968-1969...
Editor’s note: To all who have served our country and ensured our freedom: thank you! To our readers: Have a safe and jubilant Independence Day!
Palmer Lake Fun Run
Run or walk four miles on the Fourth, from Palmer Lake to Monument via the Santa Fe Trail! In-person or virtual options are available. Proceeds go to Palmer Lake Elementary.
7-9 a.m. | Palmer Lake | $35-$45 | runsignup.com
Tri-Lakes 4th of July Celebration
Celebrate the 4th up north, from a pancake breakfast in the morning to a beer garden and live music through late afternoon. Watch the Kiwanis parade, eat festival food and check out local art too! See website for times and locations.
7 a.m.-5 p.m. | townofmonument.org | 719-481-2954
Wood Avenue Parade
Come to the Old North End’s flag-lined parade route for the annual children’s parade! See historic homes, decorated strollers and bikes and costumed kids. Bike decorating happens on the 3rd, 4-6 p.m. at the Steele Elementary gazebo, 1720 N. Weber St.
9-11 a.m. | 2050 Wood Ave. | Free | oldnorthend.org
Old-Fashioned 4th of July
Celebrate in Woodland Park with live patriotic music, a beer garden, food, yoga, a kids’ fishing derby, 3-on-3 basketball, beginner’s self-defense, face painting, giveaways, caricatures by “Cartoon Bill,” the Gold Canyon Gunfighters show and a watermelon-eating contest!
9 a.m.-3 p.m. | 200 N. Park St., Woodland Park | Free | wpmainstreet.org | 719-233-9902
Family Fourth at Rock Ledge Ranch
Catch costumed characters reenact a Revolutionary War encampment, where Honest Abe reads the famous Gettysburg Address while General William Jackson Palmer and Teddy Roosevelt discuss historical events. There’s also a Declaration of Independence reading, patriotic music and carnival games.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. | 3105 Gateway Road | $8 ($5 for 65+ seniors) | rockledgeranch.com | 719-578-6777
4th of July Picnic
Get ready for grilled goodness! Hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and all the trimmings await you, courtesy of Cheyenne Mountain VFW Post 3917.
12-3 p.m. | 4715 Clear View Drive | $7 | vfwpost3917.org | 719-392-8677
Gold Camp 4th
Cripple Creek calls! There are donkeys, family fun activities, live music, food vendors and more. End the day with an epic fireworks display synced to music at 9:30 p.m.
12-10 p.m. | 264 Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek | Free | visitcripplecreek.com | 719-689-3461
Star Spangled Symphony and Block Party
Join this all-American celebration! Enjoy the Philharmonic’s patriotic concert inside or broadcast outside, with food vendors, a beer garden, games, face painting, balloon animals and more.
3:30-7 p.m. (concert at 4:30 p.m.) | 190 S. Cascade St. | Free | COS4thofjuly.org | 719-634-7333
Check the night skies all around you for these pyrotechnic displays: Banning Lewis Ranch (open to the public), The Club at Flying Horse, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (ticketed event), The Country Club of Colorado at Cheyenne Mountain Resort (resort guests and members only), Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, Patty Jewett Golf Course, Rocky Mountain Vibes (ticketed event) and Valley High Golf Course. Enjoy the Colorado Springs Philharmonic patriotic concert simultaneously by tuning your radio to FM stations 88.7, 92.9, 96.9 and 106.3 or 740 AM starting at 9 p.m.
Approximately 9:15 p.m. | Free | COS4thofjuly.org | 719-634-7333