A patriotic flotilla featuring about a dozen canoes and kayaks at the Nueces River Paddling Trail as well as a celebration at George West City Park sponsored by the city and the George West Chamber of Commerce marked the community’s first Fourth of July weekend celebration.
George West Mayor Andy Garza focused on the challenges America has faced over the past 15 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, riots and an economic downturn, and the faith that has helped people get through the difficulties.
“2020 was a very trying year for our nation,” he said. “We faced so many obstacles and trials. It was one of the hardest years we have faced as a nation in a very long time. We were threatened by division in our populace. There was resentment and fighting amongst our national leaders and representatives. There was turbulence in our nation’s capital. There was a worldwide pandemic that showed respect to no one.
“We endured countless losses and financial instability. Many Americans looked death in the face. Yet we overcame just like our forefathers overcame in the fight for independence of our great nation. ... We came together as a nation and we prevailed. We were able to demonstrate our strength and liberty to surmount what was said to be inevitable.
“The book of Isaiah, chapter 40 verse 31 states, ‘But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
Garza said it is the nation’s commitment to God that makes the difference.
“Folks, God is here,” he said. “Today, God is everywhere because we have come together as a nation to celebrate not only our independence, our liberty and our freedoms, but more importantly our strength as a nation.
“America has remained strong throughout the years with friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger, and most importantly, Americans helping everyone. There has been a spirit of service, embodied by countless men and women, both past and present, driven by selfless acts of kindness to serve all humanity.”
During the George West celebration, volunteer firefighters cooked and served hot dogs and the chamber handed out free cotton candy and funnel cakes. ConocoPhillips provided free fans and bottled water, and several other local organizations and businesses gave away free items to those attending.
Live music was provided throughout the day, and children and adults were able to play games, including a cake walk with several cakes donated by First United Methodist of George West, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, George West Church of Christ, Impact Church, First Baptist of Church West, St. George Catholic and Monte de Olivio church.
A day earlier, patriotic singalong and showing of the movie “Independence Day” took place at Dobie West Theatre.
On the Fourth of July itself, a flag waving parade began at Three Rivers City Hall and proceeded to George West City Hall.