In a change from the standard News Report on Dune Sea activities; we give you a firsthand account of the Independence Day Parade, Flagstaff, Az.

As told by Victoria Rogers (DZ 3397)

”The weather was perfect. Crowds had already begun to congregate in downtown Flagstaff, and on a small side street, just off the beaten path, another kind of group gathered. Amongst all the flags flying and patriotic revelry, this collection of folks, were a sight to behold.
The Star Wars universe was well represented for this year’s Independence Day Parade in Flagstaff. From Jawas to Storm Troopers. Tuskens to Jedi. Mandos to Cantina Band. Both the Rebels and Dark Side aligned in unity for this day to steal the show!

The parade started promptly at 9a.m. but, since we were not in the first entries, we had some time. Clustered in groups under shade trees, aliens and soldiers from other worlds laughed and reconnected. The genuine camaraderie is obvious in this strange brew.
Suddenly there was a charge in the air. The order was given. Sand Troopers stood ready to take point and set the pace. Finally it was time! We stepped out onto the main parade route and began our trek. Crowds cheered, children jumped with excitement. All around us was applause and shouts of elation over such a huge group of well loved characters! Even the announcers from the various northern Arizona radio stations along the route were exclaiming how much they had been anxiously waiting for THIS group to come along!
This eclectic assembly of volunteers is undeniably the hit of the annual parade. Every July 4th, troopers from all over the state join together in a celebration of our country and also to recognize and pay tribute to those who have fallen in its service.

We have in our ranks veterans, police and fire personnel, and on this day many troopers chose to honor the men lost during a recent tragedy in our State by placing a ‘19’ on their shoulder. On June 30th 2013, nineteen young men from the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew from Prescott lost their lives in an out of control wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona. This year, we marched for them.”

Thank you, Victoria.  That was an honor to post.

Yes, this year’s parade was a first for several of our members.  For some, it was even their very first troop in armor.  And they have the scars to prove it.  We’re a tough bunch though, and every armor bite is merely a memory of our love of serving the empire.  “See ya next year, Flagstaff.”