We Make History

Proudly Participated

In The


Independence Day Parade

July 4th, 2007    Flagstaff, Arizona






















Each year the Family of We Make History enjoys the opportunity to celebrate our nation's birthday on the 4th of July and honour those who pledged their "lives", "fortunes" and "sacred honor" to the cause of liberty.


Liberty is the sublime and perhaps little understood concept that nevertheless was the watchword for the day. Led by Miss Liberty, all those marching in the parade in the name of We Make History often cheered for "Liberty" and had that cheer echoed - and often even initiated - by the cheerful and enthusiastic throngs lining the streets of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Along with Lady Liberty marched soldiers and civilians of 1776 led by General George Washington and a large contingent from the 1860s led by General Robert E. Lee. The ladies waved and interacted with the crowd as the soldiers evinced hearty cheers by showcasing historic military drill.

A thanks goes to Mrs. James who provided water to a thirsty group who had marched in record heat!

Our next stop was the Washington Tree on the NAU Campus for a time of prayer and reflection before a long afternoon of fellowship, laughter and good conversation.

Happy 231st Birthday to the United States of America!

We Make History

George Washington's Army

The 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry

2006 Flagstaff Independence Day Parade





































































































































Never too hot for a parade

Viking hats, dogs in bow ties, red Popsicles (melting), Route 66 cars, yellow balloons, Alpine long horns, free bubble gum, sailboats on wheels, antique tractors and Civil War re-enactors.

Welcome to one of northern Arizona's most beloved traditions -- the Fourth of July parade in downtown Flagstaff.

In its 11th year, more than 10,000 people flocked Wednesday morning to the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Fourth of July Parade, despite a scorching temperature of 96 degrees, a new record for the date.


One of the most joyous aspects of the parade is the ample presence of young people of all ages, festively dressed and full of enthusiasm.

Many features of the parade are geared to the young, including parade animals, folks in costumes, fancy cars and, above all else, free candy thrown by parade participants.

Bailey Kohnen, 6, of Flagstaff, liked the Revolutionary War re-enactors.

"I like to see the old soldiers," he said, standing in the shade in Heritage Square.

Scotty Gourley, 9, of Flagstaff, marched in the parade with his Cub Scout Pack 210, from DeMiguel Elementary School.

"I got really, really hot," he said. "I had on a cardboard card that I made. I poured water on my head."

Carley Astraus, 7, of Flagstaff, was perfectly attired in an entire red-white-and-blue theme, with matching bead necklace, flower lei, stars in her ponytail and red rubber clogs.

"I like all the great stuff in it, like all the candy and stuff, and all the floats," she said.


There was even stuff for teenagers.

"I think they like all the cotton candy and ice cream," said Calvin Androwski, 13. "I like the classic cars. I like how they're designed." Rebecca Friedman, 12, goes to school in Phoenix, but lives part-time in Flagstaff. Dressed in a pink polka-dot T-shirt, with red dye sprayed into her brown hair, she stood in the shade at Babbitt's Backcountry Outfitters on East Aspen Avenue.

"It's fun," she said. "It's exciting and colorful. I like the dogs in costumes."

Dressed in a red tulle tutu and blue rubber clogs, Alana Hoffman, 12, accompanied the NAU Preparatory Academy Dance float.

"It's kind of hot, but it's really fun," she said. "I'm drinking a lot of water, but we can't get water on our costumes. "

An older teen had a serious sentiment.

"I really like Fourth of July, because it really reminds us of what America is all about," said Caleb Cordasco, 16, of Flagstaff. "I think America is all about the ability to do what you want and to be able to live free."


Gov. Janet Napolitano rode through town in a gray convertible, surrounded by a group of teenagers from Coconino County TeenWorks, a summer program which just received the 2006 Governor's Award for Youth Leadership.

The program is partially funded through the Arizona Legislature, primarily funded through the Coconino County Board of Supervisors and managed by the Coconino County Career Center.

"They do a great job," said the governor, about the TeenWorks young people. "I'm glad they were with me today in the parade."

Analicia Namingha, 14, joined TeenWorks this summer.

"It's awesome," she said. "Every teen should do that." She remembered the work they did in Peaks View County Park in Doney Park.

"The gravel we spread out, that took a lot of time and effort to make it beautiful -- park beautification," she said.

Attorney General Terry Goddard also participated in the parade, riding in a yellow Mercury Comet, provided by the Route 66 Car Club in Flagstaff. He was joined by staff members from the Attorney General's Community Services Program, which provides community-based locations that make it easier for residents to obtain information on consumer fraud, civil rights, victims' rights and other issues.

"Beautiful day, wonderful people, and I think our car's going to make it to the top of the hill," Goddard said.

NAU President John Haeger rode in a red Pontiac Solstice convertible.

"It's the greatest parade and a great turnout," he said.


With no clouds to block the sun, spectators crowded into small pools of shade under every tree and awning.

Near the top of the parade route on North San Francisco Street, a dozen people nestled in shady areas under a line of elm trees in a dirt parking lot above the street. They brought their own portable chairs.

"Well, we're in the shade balcony," said Steve Huffman of Flagstaff, as he chewed on blue cotton candy. "My wife's co-worker invited us to come up and join her. It's a nice, breezy spot up here."

At the end of the parade route, participants in the "We love libraries" entry cooled off under an large elm tree on East Elm Avenue. Mary Mohr had taken off her Curious George costume, which advertised the storytime at the East Flagstaff Community Library.

In addition to a "fatso thing," it consisted of a giant furry head, feet, hands and a fur coat, she said.

"I was getting hot toward the end, but it's very nice here," Mohr said.

The awning at the professional building at 223 N. San Francisco St. provided about five inches of shade for Greg and Janice Trumpp.

"We learned an awfully long time ago how intense the sun is up here, and we search shade," he said.

They had brought a red and black umbrella.

"It's blocking my knees from getting sunburned," she said.








































































































































Happy Marchers


Had a great time in Flagstaff even with the heat.  Lots of real nice people and everyone seemed to really enjoy the parade.  I was surprised at how enthusiastic the crowd was.
Again, thanks.


Dear Sir & Madame,

Thank you so much for the picture. We also have a few we can send you, if you so desire.

What a beautiful day! So peaceful, relaxed and in good company. The best 4th of July so far. Everything went so well, the Parade, the prayer at the NAU, the Restaurant, a very good choice, the fellowship with lovely people, etc. It was hard to part company.

We do appreciate all you did to bring it to pass. I don't want to sound too repetitious, but our enjoyment of the day was due to you.

Thank you, once again. May The Lord use you in an increasing measure. I know it's not an easy job, but The Lord is our strength. We do pray for you and know God will bless you.

Yours sincerely,



Dear General Washington and Lady Liberty,

Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity and the photo you sent!

The Independence Day Parade in Flagstaff marked the first time in 25 years that I have marched in a parade -- and fortunately, I won't have to wait 25 years for the next time!  The crowds did indeed overflow with enthusiasm.  I admit my actions in formation did not live up to Baron von Steuben standards of the disciplined soldier, but if rallying proud Americans in celebration of liberty is wrong, I don't want to be right.

I am so thankful my parents were by my side to share in that wonderful time as a family.  As you know, they have read and heard much about We Make History, but I don't really think they felt the spiritual bond and love we share as a group until that moment.

And I'm grateful they got to meet you and Lady Liberty, two people who have rescued me from the slow death of a meaningless existence and shown me God's love, among other things.  Hopefully I can get Mom and Dad to American Heritage Weekend or a ball sometime in the future...

God Bless This Nation,
God Bless We Make History!

In Christ,
Your Friend And Humble Servant,
And Blessed To Be So,
Pvt. Christopher


What a wonderful page!  I have to say that was the best Independence Day I have ever celebrated.
Thank you for your good work,


Blessings Of Liberty

We Make History celebrates America's Independence with feet to the ground and hearts to God.

From the Journal of Private Christopher of the Continental Line
Photo Illustrations by his patriotic parents

"A cheer for the USA!"

The crowd on our right responds to General Washington's command immediately, launching into patriotic hollers and hearty applause.

I'm working the left side: "Huzzah! Huzzah!"

My musket is in my right hand. My tricorn is in my left, waving about, stirring up freedom's fervor for the proud Americans lining the streets of Flagstaff. They can't resist the sight of this Yankee Doodle Dandy goading them. I doubt many of them have even said the word "Huzzah" before.

Hands flutter miniature stars and stripes as our group passes by, a moving timeline with General Washington heading the Continental Line and General Lee leading a sizable contingent of the 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry. The charming ladies and energetic children walk alongside us, greeting the spectators and passing out fliers for the curious wondering what these time travelers are up to.

I'm out of step with the two other members of my detachment: one flag bearer and one fellow Continental who's doing a much better job of staying in line with the colors and carrying himself as a soldier. I see the determination in his profile, a silent discipline bred from hours of drill and a devotion to a glorious and noble cause. But every so often, he too tips his hat to elicit joyful noises.

"To Liberty!"

Behind us, the Virginians show off their precision, wowing the crowds with their formation and authenticity, rifles over shoulders. They might as well be on the way to Manassas.

We know Governor Janet Napolitano is impressed. She seeks us out before the parade, posing for a quick picture and conducting a brief meet-and-greet session. I stand dumbfounded at how approachable she is with so many around her. No recognizable security detail accompanies her, no men in black suits and Ray-Bans, save for one guy in a tan utility vest with an earpiece. He looks more like a photographer.

The governor gets a period send-off as she heads for her official parade car: "Hip hip, huzzah! Hip hip, huzzah! Hip hip, huzzah!"

Cameras snap everywhere. Smiles pop out of faces and children leap up. Even those briefly soured by the escalating temperatures wave and salute us. I forget about the musket tiring my arm or the three layers of uniform soaking up my hydration. The parade route will take us less than a dozen blocks, practically a walk in the park.

"A cheer for the USA!"

This clearly tops my Cub Scouting days, marching with the pack in our hometown parade for at least an hour. We trudged along fully uniformed and constantly dodging the deposits of horses. We drilled in a parking lot at least a week before and didn't use any of it.

Every recruit of the 1st Virginia is under a strict order should they spot a charming relative of the opposite sex in the crowd: permission to fall out and honor said lady with a gentlemanly kiss. This Continental has something slightly different in mind.

I spot her on the right side of the street, amazed she quickly changed observation points several blocks. In a matter of minutes she has transferred from the start of the parade route to the end. Dashing past my fellow patriots, I walk right up to her.

"For Liberty, for country," I say, sweeping off my tricorn into a bow, the best one I can make with a musket on my arm, "and my lady!"

My mother -- also known as the Queen Mother -- breaks into that contented smile peppered with laughter.

"Thank you!" she says as I rise back and rejoin the line. My father is shooting off pictures with his reliable Nikon and my Sony Digital 8 camera. But this moment shall remain only in our hearts.

I wanted to march with the patriots on Independence Day. My parents wanted to visit the Grand Canyon. So I talked them into combining the getaways with the full intention of introducing one family to the other.

"I want to meet face-to-face General Washington," Dad told me the night before.

"Oh you will," I replied.

Summer heat hammers down on us beyond the finish line, but we're still soaking up the sunshine of the people we have passed as we climb a hill past the parade's end point. The spectators are behind us, but General Lee's army is breaking into a rendition of "The Bonnie Blue Flag" while the Continentals are working through "Yankee Doodle Dandy" without the words.

"Dahda, dahda, dah-de-dah,
Dah-Dahda, dahda, da, da,
Dahda, dahda, da da da
Da dahda dahda da da..."

"We need a fife," I say.

General Washington spots an opportunity: "Want to do something period?"

A couple sits on the porch of the house to our left, enjoying the morning shade and the remnants of the festivities. We cease as His Excellency greets them.

"We don't mean to disturb you, but we have been marching for a long distance," he prefaces before asking if they might have any liquid refreshment, or perhaps even a hose.

Without a second thought, the kind Mrs. James rises and ducks into the house, emerging a minute later with a pitcher of water and a stack of cups. We agree to let the ladies draw from this fountain of sustainment. The gentlemen are all right.

(The kind Mrs. James who blessed our ladies with a "cold drink of water" has become a friend of We Make History and is being sent passes to the American Heritage Festival.)

Scenes like this played out in our history, the General explains, as soldiers marched through the country with orders not to pillage. They relied on hospitality. The display of kindness heartened me. But how could she not turn down the finest ladies and gentlemen of Virginia and the Colonies?

* * *

My parents accompany me to Old Main on the Northern Arizona University campus, navigating around construction and the confusing loops of unfamiliar territory. After a few wrong turns, we find shade and Arizona's connection to the man synonymous with American greatness.

The Washington Tree stands before us, a colorful and steadfast tribute to its namesake. It rose from a sprig taken from the tree in Cambridge, Massachusetts where His Excellency assumed command of the Continental Army.

He did not have a lengthy military resume at that time, our leader tells us. But still, he accepted the command. He made the commitment, and although he would suffer many setbacks and defeats, the Continentals kept getting better and better until independence was sealed at Yorktown. And then, he led a nation.

As the bells of noon toll out over Old Main, we all take a moment of prayer and reflection for our nation.

The living tribute stands in front of my living tribute as a colonial soldier, and it humbles me. It's the closest I will ever come to meeting His Excellency.

Dear God, I pray, thank you for the blessings of liberty which we enjoy. Help me to use my abilities to always enlighten people as to their liberties. Let me never forsake this duty...

Tears run down my cheeks, the cries of thanksgiving as I throw open my heart to the Almighty and plead once again for wisdom. My words tremble with a desperate sadness, perhaps from the knowledge of how many people would willingly trade away their liberties for a deeper sense of protection. I also know I have my own troops to lead in my other life and time. Washington fought the British. I have to fight ignorance and the constant temptations of exploitation, bias and irrelevance.

Others draw into the magnitude of the moment. I feel it all around me, lives touched, souls seeking comfort. A few moments of prayer will not suffice, so we join hands to sing the Doxology and offer a few more words in the open.

"May we always be vigilant in protecting our liberties from those who want to take them away from us," I say, my mind still clouded with emotion, words nearly choking out of me. "Let us not forget the sacrifices of others."

"I pray for our children... " one lady offers.

"I pray for We Make History..." a gentleman adds.

A depressing fact surfaces once again. People have attacked us, our leader says, for reasons unstated but which we all know of.

I once received an e-mail from someone wondering if I was involved in a "cult of re-enacting." I debunked his fears with a friendly and truthful explanation, which fortunately for me, he accepted. People still ask me if I have picked up a girlfriend after attending so many historic balls, not understanding that was never the point. But at least they understand why their patriot producer enjoys wearing three-cornered hats and offering a bow every now and then.

At least, I pray they do.

We are the new rebels, rebelling against a society adrift, protesting in our own mannered and chivalrous way for a more chivalrous and mannered world. But our words are not angry or belligerent beyond the re-created skirmishes on the battlefield. We do not cast fingers or shake fists at our enemies. Instead, we offer them a hand to dance. Our actions are not born of hate, but of a deep love for the people around us. We spread our joy to everyone, a joy inspired by grace and civility, living the way Our Maker intended us to. In return, we gain a peace unknown to many.

After the prayers, we still feel the joy within us as we stand silent in a circle, the Holy Spirit alive in our hearts.

"We are so blessed," our leader remarks.

The moment is almost indescribable unless you are there to feel it. And by my side, my mother and father are feeling it. I have told them many times how We Make History has changed my life, giving their son a sense of purpose and leading him back to God. I wanted them to feel this deep sense of family, this love we share.

"I know you're concerned about the kind of people I hang out with," I once told Mother in jest.

"Honey, I'm concerned about you having anybody to hang out with at all," she responded.

Discussing the moment is superfluous as we head to lunch in the family station wagon. Yet my father makes a discovery as he pulls out of the Old Main parking lot.

"Did somebody pray for the car?"

The "Check Engine" light, a nagging worry all through our Flagstaff travels, has extinguished. Behold, another miracle moment!

De-colonializing myself at the motel room takes longer than I expect, and we make a few more wrong turns, but we make it to lunch at Cracker Barrel with the We Make History family, albeit marooned on a side table from our late arrival. Dad gets to meet General Washington, who encourages both of them to attend a ball. I know my father is a Civil War buff, but dancing is not his forte. Mother, maybe.

"If you can walk, you can dance," I remind them.

A gallery of more Independence Day photos awaits you here.

Will you join us in our glorious, noble and happy cause? More about We Make History here!