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STEPHEN HEMELT — Field of Honor tribute is part of Fourth of July fireworks

Angela Fanette knows Doornbos Park in Nederland has the acreage, so she would love to see much of it covered with American Flags.

The city’s parks and recreation director has the perfect time in mind — the Fourth of July.

Falling on a Sunday this year, Nederland is again hosting a July 4 party at the park with Pop Gun playing to the audience, starting at 7 p.m., and the fireworks program planned for a 9:15 p.m. launch.

Entertainment aside, the city is also honoring Veterans by placing names on individual flags in a Field of Honor in front of where the fireworks display is shot.

To participate, fill out a form and return it to the Nederland Recreation Center (2301 Avenue H).

Nederland Recreation Center is open from 2-6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 1-5 p.m. on Fridays.

There is no cost to participate, no limit on the number of flags and all completed forms must be received by June 22.

Forms are available on the city’s and recreation department’s Facebook page and can be picked up at the recreation center.

“If we are going to celebrate independence, there is a reason behind that,” Fanette told me this week. “I am very proud to be part of a community that this is important to. We are looking forward to having a good time in the park, a really good fireworks show and being able to enjoy listening to the band.”

The fireworks display is approximately 15 minutes long and set to music.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets for comfortable viewing.

There is no charge to watch the show or hear the band, but there will be local nonprofits on site providing food vending.

“We are working on trying to have the pool available that evening,” Fanette said. “We are not entirely sure we will be able to do that because a lot of the staff goes over to help with the show. We are limited on staffing. For parks people, we like people out in the parks and doing things. The last year has been kind of tough for recreational programing when we are not all together.”

There will be a charge to swim in the pool if that option is available.

Attendees are not allowed to bring alcohol, glass bottles or their own pyrotechnics, which Fanette added has not been an issue in years past.

Organizers are expecting a large turnout.

Local residents and visitors need to be ready to walk.

“It is a large park with limited parking inside the park,” Fanette said. “We want people to be safe. Traffic is usually a little heavy because we are all out here enjoying the show.”

According to Fanette, the Field of Honor is a simple undertaking for the department. “but sometimes those simple ways of honoring people are the best ways.

“We have a lot of availability. We are not limited on spacing. We’ve got acreage out there and I would like to see it covered with flags. We will put as many flags out as folks will come in and sign up for.”

For those who have participated in the past, the city retains that information and continues to put flags out in their honor. Organizers are just looking to add pageantry each year with more flags honoring active-duty service members and military Veterans.

Stephen Hemelt is president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes The Port Arthur News and panews.com. He can be reached at 409-721-2445 or stephen.hemelt@panews.com.

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