Veterans help save Aurora's July 4 parade

July 4, 2011 (AURORA, Ill.)

"When revenues are not coming in and the budget still has to be balanced, every decision becomes a tough decision," said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner.

When word spread of the parade being cut from the budget, the local American Legion members went into the action, raising money to support the parade.

"It took a lot of hard work from a lot of people. We raised some money and the city matched funds with us up to $15,000," said Norris Erickson with the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post 84.

"Municipalities can't do everything these days so we need to step up as a community to keep these things going and keep these traditions going and honor our veterans," said Stephanie Kifowit, 3rd Ward.

As a result of the community and the American Legion members' hard work, 10,000 people were able to take in the annual Fourth of July parade in downtown Aurora on Monday.

"We come and sit here with family and friends. We love it. This a tradition. We have to make it to the parade," Sylvia Silinas said.

"I've been in the parade. I did Cub Scouts, Boys Scouts, the West High Band -- now I do the Legion Band, and we finished early, so I'm here to enjoy the rest of the parade," Brad Scatterday said.

"I remember going to parades as a kid, and passing that down and showing the great things that make America the best country in the world," Jay Zapata said.

Long time resident Dick Schreul was able to enjoy another parade. The only time in 79 years he missed the parade was while he served two years in the Navy.

"Good to see the community rally around the situation and we can have a good parade and good turnout and a lot of good sponsors that are helping out to put this parade on," Schreul said.

It's unclear whether the Fourth of July parade will become a community-sponsored event -- it may depend on the city's finances next year.

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