Hello everybody, I hope you’re having a fabulous Friday! And before I forget, Happy Independence Day! I absolutely love this time of year.

Hello everybody, I hope you’re having a fabulous Friday! And before I forget, Happy Independence Day! I absolutely love this time of year.  
Last Saturday was our annual “Celebrate Neosho” event and it was literally a blast! Pulling up to park I spied the gleaming classic show cars all lined in a row, and hear the deep rumble of the exhaust of an old muscle car as it rolled by. As we arrived and commenced to dragging all our lawn chairs, food items, and of course a good supply of IBC cream soda out to set up shop by the runway, you could smell the pungent jet fuel in the air as the airshow was just beginning. The kids were excitedly pointing out the daring tricks the airplanes were performing as the sky was crisscrossed with “skyscrapes” as my youngest calls them.
 As we made our way to one of the airport hangars to hang out with friends, the smell of grilled burgers and brats wafted through the cool evening air. You couldn’t have asked for better weather by the way! One of the NPD officers even took a break from patrol and came by on a borrowed Fire Department four-wheeler and capitalized on the opportunity to grab a burger and chat for a few minutes… (Don’t tell Chief Kennedy).
 Later, we got to see the jet truck beat the airplanes in a race as it fired off down the runway at over 300 MPH! It’s a good thing that patrolman was preoccupied with stuffing his face with a juicy burger! All through the evening the little red helicopter that was giving rides was buzzing in and out offering a $20 birds’ eye view of all the hoopla. There was scrumptious popcorn, and funnel cakes, and all kinds of goodies to consume at the vendor carts.
 After our stomach was full and it was starting to get dark, we moved our chairs out by the runway. My wife and I were just taking it all in sitting hand in hand, watching the sun slowly go behind the horizon and the lighting bugs were blinking as if wanting to make sure they got noticed as well. I began to reminisce about bygone days and past 4th of July Celebration’s, and how blessed we are to live in the United States of America! A Nation where freedom is still pursued and protected. A Nation that is still the shining city on a hill! BOOM! The first firework exploded and my   attention snapped back to the red white and blue embers showering down in the night sky. I love it! After it was all said and done, all I could say was “Merica.” I’m so proud to be an American, and proud to be from Neosho, Missouri!
 
This time of year, especially take time to enjoy time with family and friends, and remember that it is up to you to preserve the freedoms we enjoy every day. Take you role seriously because in all reality, your patriotism and duty as a citizen is what makes “The land of the free, and the home of the brave.”  Love ya Neosho and until next time, minimize the negative, maximize the positive, and God Bless Neosho!

Ben Banker is the mayor of Neosho and writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.