The American Legion 4th of July parade in Chanhassen took on an extra special meaning Monday. There were 73 units in the parade, but it was the littlest participants that had the biggest impact. A Junior Honor Guard made up of 63 children of deployed military members marched right behind the Honor Guard. The kids ranged in age from 4-months-old to 20-years-old. They came from as far away as Moorhead, Moose Lake, New Richmond, WI and even Dayton, OH and Warrenton, VA. For many it was their first 4th of July without their mom or dad to celebrate with.
“Everyone else is enjoying their time off because of what my husband is doing and it’s that proud feeling. Because of him and everyone else who is deployed is why we get to do what we are doing,” said Rhiannon Knutson. The children waved American flags and wore personalized dog tags and matching t-shirts courtesy of the Legion. For the 5,000 spectators, this Independence Day parade was about more than just our freedom. It was about the sacrifice our men and women and their families make every day. The kids were all treated to lunch after the parade. They will also receive a pair of DVDs of the parade, one for them and one to send to their parent overseas. They also got a gift certificate from the American Legion for a free pizza to treat their parent to when they return.