It was a beautiful (but very hot: about 40 degrees Celsius) day for our first 4th July in America. Even though Bagdad is a very small town, they still know how to celebrate and being as fervently patriotic as they are, what better excuse for a celebration than the nation's birthday. The photo at the top of this post shows the crowds of people waiting for the parade to start - I didn't know Bagdad had so many people (or so many fire engines; there were about 15 or so of them in the parade). The theme of the parade was "Saluting America's Heroes", which was interpreted in several different ways: Ben Franklin (aka Sharon the postmistress) riding a horse; a couple of floats with reference to the war in Iraq; kids dressed in Western gear for "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys", even Wonder Woman and her sidekick driving an ATV (that's American talk for quad bike). There were far too many lollies (thrown to the kids from the floats) for us to carry home, and for days afterwards there were crushed lollies all over the road.
The 4th July celebration coincided with the opening of Bagdad's new community centre, which is going to be an excellent facility for our little town. The centre has been built on the site of an old elementary (primary) school which was condemned because the buildings were derelict. The classrooms have been rebuilt and now there is space for all sorts of craft classes, a community orchestra, drama group, a new library, gymnasium plus a brand-new playground, skate park and two swimming pools. There is also a new preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, which N will start attending in August.