Hammond residents enjoy their first 'Hammond America' celebration

Photo provided by staff.
Friday, July 4, 2014 - 4:42pm

In Hammond, hundreds of people came out for the city's first daytime 4th of July celebration.

The 4th of July, Independence Day, the day we celebrate our freedom.

"I don't know what you like to do, but I like to ride motorcycles. I like to travel. You can't do that. If you like to go to church, I like to go to church. We can't enjoy any of these freedoms, if we didn't live in this great and wonderful country," said Sam Dileo.

That's why everyone is here in downtown Hammond and that's all thanks to Sam Dileo. It's taken him ten years to get this celebration going.

"It was a dream of mine for a very, very long time," Dileo said.

So, he got out here at 4:00 Friday morning to set up for this. It's the city's first "Hammond America" celebration, complete with music, a lot of food and even some games. Dileo said that's all great, but it's important to remember what today's about.

"Patriotism is beginning to wain in this country. It's lacking a little bit. This is not about politics. This is not about race. This is not about Democrats and Republicans. This is about the United States of America," Dileo said. "We couldn't do all of these things if it was not for the men and women in the United States armed services."

Helen Latino said it's important that every generation remember that.

"Well if they stop and ask about anything, I try to explain to them what it means to be a veteran and what this day represents," Latino said.

"I want them to take away patriotism, what this country is all about. Let's do away with the animosity, the politics, all of that. Let's get away from that. Let's be one nation under God," Dileo said.

All proceeds from the celebration will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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