Marine Corps League color guard leads St. George Fourth of July parade; Trump praises military

Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League members lead the Fourth of July parade in St. George, Utah, July 4, 2018. The 1943 Ford Jeep was restored by its driver Tuffy Ruth of Mesquite, Nev., who was accompanied by Detachment Commandant Dave Waters, left, and Marine Victor Curtis, center. In the trailer is Jon Heinz, Patsy Daubert, Gene Gregory, D’Arcy Grisier. | Photo courtesy of William Fortune, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Sixteen members of the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League formed the lead unit of the city’s Independence Day parade, carrying the nation’s and state’s colors backed by a drummer and banner detail, along with eight Marines and associates.

Emily Marie Forsyth, granddaughter of Detachment Marine William Fortun,e sings the National Anthem for the start of the Fourth of July at Town Square in St. George, Utah, July 4, 2018 | Photo courtesy of William Fortune, St. George News

They rode in the 1943 Ford Jeep and trailer configuration. The Jeep had been was restored and driven by Tuffy Ruth, a detachment member from Mesquite, Nevada, providing the transportation for members who would have a hard time making the full 1 1/2-mile march.

St. George citizens young and old lined Tabernacle Street, standing and saluting as the colors passed by. As the detachment rolled into view, there were cheers, applause and many a thank you shouted from those gathered.

“By participating and leading the parade, detachment members give younger people a reason to have a patriotic experience,” detachment spokesman William Fortune wrote to St. George News. “Respecting the sacrifice of those who served in the military will carry through to respect for the nation’s emblems in the future.”

Meanwhile, in Washington, President Donald Trump praised the U.S. military for keeping America “safe, strong, proud, mighty and free” and used the Independence Day holiday to thank them for being willing to put their lives on the line in defense of the nation.

“Two hundred and 42 years ago on July 4, 1776, America’s founders adopted the Declaration of Independence and changed the course of human history,” said Trump, addressing hundreds of military families attending a holiday picnic from a balcony overlooking the lawn.

“But our freedom exists only because there are brave Americans willing to give their lives, to defend it and defend our great country,” added Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania. “America’s liberty has been earned through the blood, sweat and sacrifice of American patriots.”

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, hands back a signed hat as they greet military families during an afternoon picnic on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2018, in Washington. | Associated Press photo by Alex Brandon, St. George News

Trump left the White House for several hours Wednesday morning headed in the direction of the private golf club he owns in northern Virginia. He returned about an hour before he addressed the picnic. A concert and viewing of the fireworks near the Washington Monument is also on the lineup.

Trump was not expected on Wednesday to interview candidates for the Supreme Court, taking a holiday respite from the intense process. He has spoken with seven candidates, according to the White House, and will announce his choice for a successor to retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday.

Before greeting guests on the lawn, Trump praised service members and their families as “truly unbelievable people.”

“Thank you for keeping America safe, strong, proud, mighty and free,” he said.

The White House invited some 1,500 military families to the picnic, according to the first lady’s office, with 5,500 more invited for the fireworks.

Entertainers appearing at the 90-minute concert to be televised on the Hallmark Channel include singer-songwriter Sara Evans, pianist Lola Astanova and former “American Idol” finalists Jonny Brenns and Jax.

William Fortune and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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