Hundreds gather for the annual Fourth of July celebration in Herndon Wednesday, July 4.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
Herndon The Herndon Community Center hosted its annual Fourth of July celebration last Wednesday, welcoming hundreds of local residents to the fields next to the community center for an afternoon and evening of live music and entertainment, followed by fireworks.
"I lived in an apartment in Arlington for years, and to see fireworks I had to either head down to the mall and fight 100,000 people, or bargain my way onto a neighboring roof," said George Casillas of Herndon. "But since I came to Herndon a few years ago, I’ve been able to walk down the W and OD Trail, spread out on the grass and watch a show that’s happening 1,000 feet from me. It’s not a bad way to be."
Children who came early could participate in face painting, spin a wheel to win a T-shirt and other activities.
"I tried to wear as much red, white and blue as I could, but when I got to the face painting station, I realized I could get more," said Caleb Benjamin, 5, who got American flags painted on both cheeks. "Now I’m pretty sure that I have the most red, white and blue of anyone here."
Benjamin might have had the most outward display of patriotism at the event, but for many, it was a chance to celebrate a land that they weren’t born in, but have built a life in.
"I grew up in El Salvador, and after a long process was finally able to live here, so I don’t take anything for granted," said Armando Garcia of Herndon. "On the surface it might just be burgers, music and fireworks, but for me and my family to get here, it required us to learn a new language and culture, and learn to make our home in a completely new place. I don’t regret it for a second, and events where people of all different races and backgrounds can celebrate the same thing is something that I want my kids to experience."