The United States is a great country and Americans know it.
They are patriotic, and are proud of their national celebrations.
That patriotism sometimes becomes lost at local events.
That is not the case with the immensely popular Independence Day parade in Iron Mountain-Kingsford. It draws thousands of spectators and hundreds of entries.
The parade is organized by Americans for Constitutional Enforcement (ACE), a local group that passionately supports the U.S. Constitution.
ACE has staunchly championed the U.S. Constitution, including strict enforcement of the Second Amendment.
Yes, ACE has seen its share of controversy over the years, but few could argue ACE members' dedication to patriotism.
When no one came forward to organize the traditional Fourth of July parade in Iron Mountain-Kingsford, ACE stepped up.
That was at least a dozen years ago. And they're still at it.
Coordinating such a huge parade is no easy task.
We're talking about scores of volunteers, usually working under a blistering sun while on their feet on a national holiday - year after year.
And you thought organizing that backyard barbecue was a chore.
As always, ACE is seeking volunteers to help with the show. We encourage area residents to help.
"Proud to be an American" is the theme of this year's parade on Friday, July 4.
"We are once again looking forward to sponsoring and putting on the special event honoring our nation's heritage and all those who preserve and protect our Constitution." said ACE President Lee Guizzetti. "This gives everyone in the area to participate in a great and fun activity."
As in previous years, a parade participant application is required in order to be in the event. Applications can be picked up and returned to any Iron Mountain or Kingsford branch or main office of the First National Bank & Trust Co. or by visiting the ACE web site at www.A4CE.org.
"To enhance spectator viewing, we are asking that the community sticks to the parade theme as much as possible," Guizzetti said.
This year, tossing of any objects or squirting of liquids from mobile units or walkers is prohibited due to insurance regulations. Items may be distributed by walking parade participants along the curb, however.
"The last thing that we want is for a child to be hurt running out in front of moving units," organizers said.
"We want this to be a safe, fun and enjoyable event," Guizzetti said.
"The parade is a major undertaking for ACE and we would welcome individuals or groups to step in and help us this year," said Parade Chairman Joe Testolin.
"It won't take a lot of your time, but we are in real need of some help," he said.
ACE was organized in 1998 in Iron Mountain as a non-partisan educational group whose purpose is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.
For more information about the parade or joining ACE, contact Testolin at (906) 282-9200, vice-chair Diane Nichols at 774-3310 or President Guizzetti at (906) 204-4470.