'For you and me': Durham neighborhood hosts Fourth of July celebration for 72nd year

Residents of Watts-Hillandale gathered at Oval Park, Durham on Sunday morning to get ready for their annual Fourth of July parade.Tom Miller, a neighbor, led a group of volunteers who used wooden clothes pins for flag clipping along a long clothesline that was tied to the trees around the park's grassy field.Star-spangled flags were not the only flags flying on the field, even though they are celebrating an American holiday. Flags representing individual U.S. States and other countries were also displayed in the air.Miller's great-grandfather's 48-star flag was one of the flags.Miller, the current organizer of the event, stated that Mr. Tom Walker was the original organizer and encouraged people to bring flags from home states or their home countries.Miller explains that this was done to emphasize the U.S. motto E pluribus Unum, which means "Out of many, one" in Latin.Miller stated that we still have it today. The whole community is represented by flags from many different countries and people.The celebration was cut short last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 20 volunteers marched along parade's normal path, while residents waved and watched from their homes.An enthusiastic crowd made their way to the heart of the neighborhood at the intersection between Club Boulevard and Oakland Avenue, near the park's main entrance, this year.THREAD: I am at the 72nd Annual Watts Hillandale #4thofJuly Parade in Oval Park, #Durham. Volunteers are currently decorating the park with hundreds flags from various countries and states @newsobserver pic.twitter.com/gqMMVrDz6z Laura Brache, @Laura Brache July 4, 2021Gabriela Jauregui Matthews was one of the participants and held a large Argentinian flag as a symbol of her homeland.Continue the storyJauregui Matthews, a Durham native who moved there in 1967, stated that this parade is what Durham represents. Watts-Hillandale or Durham or North Carolina or the United States of America could not exist without the many people from all over the globe.Clare Adkin was one of the volunteers who had arrived earlier in the day. He returned home with Sally, his wife, after decorating their bikes. Since 1995, this is their 26th year participating in the parade.He said that I helped Tom Miller 15 years ago. It's a patriotic, God bless-America feeling.Sally Adkin (left) and Clare Adkin (right) prepare for the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood's 72nd annual Fourth of July parade, Durham, N.C. Sunday, July 4, 2021.Officially, the parade began at 10 a.m. With the traditional ringing cow bell after intersections were closed to allow attendees to march down the streets.Thibault, Zing Worth and their daughter Isadora walked down Club Boulevard. They recently moved back from Taiwan where Zing was originally from to the United States.My daughter was thrilled when I told her that the Taiwan flag would be carried at the parade.Brenna Alston, 6, marches at the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood's 72nd annual Fourth of Jul parade in Durham, N.C. Sunday, July 4, 2021.Tradition of the Watts-Hillandale Fourth July Parade began in 1950. Alice Walker and Tom Walker, husband and wife, were buried at the corner Virginia Avenue and Club Boulevard. They invited the families in the area to bring their children dressed in red, blue, and white, and they marched down the block waving American flags. After returning home, they recited The Pledge of Allegiance while sipping a local soda.Today, every guest who attends the parade is allowed to have a small, ice-cold Coke bottle provided by Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Hillsborough Road. On Sunday, attendees sang patriotic songs such as This Land is Your Land.They sang and waved flags from many countries, claiming that this land was made for us.