Independence Day is about the birth of our nation.
Besides the prerequisite BBQs and fireworks, Mangowood (a neighborhood of nearly 300 homes in Palmetto Bay) has made it a point for the past eleven years to meet at the flagpole at SW 152nd Street and 84th Court entrance to honor the service men and women who fought for our freedoms.
A wonderful blend of community spirit and tribute to residents who have and are serving in our military, this year saw around 75 neighbors gather to raise the flag, sing and hear from a variety of speakers.
There was even some patriotic harmonica music from former Mangowood resident and military veteran Gunther Karger who witnessed a Hitler speech, fought against the German invasion and is the only living holocaust survivor south of Kendall.
The event started in 2007, after a new flagpole was erected following hurricane damage in 2006. A red brick monument sign surrounds the flagpole that not only proudly spells out Mangowood, but also contains dedication bricks for neighborhood military members past and present.
Mangowood also had the Felix Varela High School Jr ROTC Navy Honor Guard present colors and there was a wonderful community spirit throughout.
As in years past, the Homestead US Air Force Reserve Base sent two Makos F16s overhead to the delight of residents.
This year they were so low that many called it the best year ever. Mayor Eugene Flinn was visibly excited as they came by for a second pass, “Whoa! Thank you for your service and thank you for the show. That’s how you celebrate on the fourth!”
Vice Mayor DuBois spoke, “The freedoms that we were given by our forefathers should not be taken for granted and we honor them today.” Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham added, “Take today to remember what this holiday is really all about and have that conversation with your children.”
Retired 20-plus year Miami-Dade policeman David Greenwell, a Mangowood activist put it perfectly, “Mangowood is special because of all the veterans we have living here and it's just such a special event to celebrate our independence which a lot of people take for granted.” When you pause to reflect, this is one of those events that highlight how amazing this bedroom community can be. The Mangowood neighborhood has run community events like this for more than 50 years.