By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Rain was in the forecast July 3, but that didn’t stop Katelyn Lewis’ family from attending the 2017 Flag City Freedom Celebration.
For the first time the annual event that helps Millington and the surrounding areas celebrate the Nation’s birthday took place at USA Stadium. Moving from Navy Lake, children like 6 year old Memphian Lewis were having fun getting their faces painted by Fancy Faces (Diane Thomas) and other attractions at the USA Stadium Complex.
Then a few drops of rain started to hit event goers around 6 p.m. With the fireworks provided by the city of Millington and NSA Mid-South scheduled to go off at 8:45, many were concern the rain would cancel the main attraction.
Brighton couple Leeann and Leonard Gatewood packed up their children Jasmine, Christopher and Ciara and rushed to the car as the rain began to pour down. While some seek shelter back in their motorized vehicles, others headed to tents like the Millington Fire and Police departments for refuge.
Then after 15 minutes of a solid downpour, the sun started to appear forming a double rainbow over through the Millington sky. That was the first colorful display in the air that grabbed the attention of visitors.
Then the children started to come out of hiding like sisters Riley and Aubrie Washburn dressed in patriotic colors.
Two-year-old Gareth Moreno was busy enjoying puddles, American Flags and the special guests at the City of Millington tent.
Other youth like siblings Bailey, Aralynn and Bryton Sullivan rubbed shoulders with city of Millington Aldermen, School Board Members, city employees, officers from the Base and Millington Mayor Terry Jones.
But children like 17-month old Lakeland resident Reagan Nigh had simple fun with straws on the table.
As a local band played the night away, the countdown was on to the main event. One of the best firework displays in the Mid-South took place in the same sky that was full of clouds and rain two hours earlier.
With the grass too wet for most, event goers lined along the paved path from the Stadium to the bridge to witness the sky light up. Some motorists not willing to pay the $5 for parking, stopped along Highway 51 and 385 to enjoy a symbol of Americana.
This year’s sponsors were Homer Skelton Ford, Homer Skelton Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Republic Services and Ritter Communications. And food was provided by McAllister’s of Millington.