The True Spirit of the 4th

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If you want to see the true spirit of Independence Day in action, Albemarle Plantation is always one of the best places to be.

Each year we go all out to celebrate the 4th with the full fervor the day commands, with a parade, community picnic, and a giant fireworks show over the Albemarle Sound.

That’s exactly the kind of celebration you’d expect from a community with a heavy concentration of veterans from every branch of the armed forces.

This year was no exception, even with threatening skies throughout the day and the Biblical deluge that descended that evening, forcing the fireworks to be rescheduled.

Fortunately, the rain held off just long enough to complete the parade – a long and colorful procession of golf carts brightly decorated in red, white and blue.

At the head of the parade was Bernie Poppert and his legendary 1942 Jeep, a survivor of World War II – the Jeep, not Bernie.

Following Bernie were carts carrying the flags of each branch of the military  – the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, in that order.

Falling in behind the military was a long line of carts belonging to Albemarle Plantation residents, all outfitted in the colors of the day.

“I couldn’t tell you how many there were, but I know when they lined up I wondered if there’d be anybody left to watch the parade,” Bernie said.

Not to worry. The parade route down Albemarle Boulevard was lined with families and their kids and grandkids, waving flags and cheering as the carts rolled by.

It was the second straight year Bernie led the parade. A master mechanic with the Navy and Air Force, he bought the Jeep in April of 2014, promising its previous owner he’d restore it to its original look.

“It’s taking longer than I thought, but we’re getting there,” he said. “I feel pretty good that we’ll be completely ready for next year’s parade.”