Cleveland Advocate, by VANESA BRASHIER 

Washington, Jul 5, 2010 -

Rains dampened but did not stop the Cleveland 75th Anniversary Celebration from taking place July 2-4, 2010. Hurricane Alex threatened the Texas Gulf Coast and even though the area did not experience a direct hit, the storm system kicked up some powerful thunderstorms that dropped several inches of rain in the Greater Houston Area on Thursday and Friday.

The 75th anniversary event in Cleveland kicked off on Friday, July 2, with a dance and barbecue cook-off and ended on Sunday, July 4, with a God and Country concert. The anniversary event was held to recognize the 75th year that Cleveland has enjoyed being an incorporated city.

Events on Saturday, July 3, were the most heavily attended by Cleveland residents, particularly a parade on Saturday morning, which included a patriotic pooch parade, and fireworks and an outdoors concert on Saturday evening at Cleveland High School’s stadium.

A special guest at the event, but no stranger to Liberty County residents, was U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble). Poe read a proclamation announcing that the entire month of July 2010 should be a time to recognize the contributions of the city of Cleveland and its residents.

Poe then launched into a patriotic speech since the city’s anniversary was also timed with Independence Day weekend.

“It is on this day that we celebrate the birth of the greatest nation on earth and the two things that made it possible — God’s grace on this nation and the spirit of individual liberty,” Poe said.

He then told a story he’d heard about a student from Prague University, who spent five years in prison for reading a document that begins with: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Then Poe began reciting the second sentence, and the most familiar, from that document — the Declaration of Independence — that reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As a wave of patriotic goodwill swept over the audience, cheers went up in the stadium.

Then Poe began talking about the nation’s military men and women — past and present. He pointed toward a board of photos that he brought with him of the service personnel from his congressional district who have died since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began.

“We’ve had a lot of wars in this country. There is no military that surpasses ours. They are all volunteers. They are the sons and daughters of democracy. They are tenacious. We thank them and we thank their families,” the congressman said.

“It’s the duty of the warrior, not the preacher, to give us our freedom of religion. It’s the duty of the warrior, not the protestor, to give us our right to assemble. It’s the duty of the warrior, not the critic, to give us freedom of speech, and it’s the duty of the warrior, not the politician, to give us our rights,” said Poe.

He encouraged those in attendance to use the opportunity of Independence Day to tell their kids the story of America.

“Happy Birthday, America. Happy Birthday, Cleveland. God bless you. God bless Texas and God bless the USA,” he said in conclusion.

Cleveland Mayor Jill Kirkonis, who preceded Poe, also presented a city proclamation declaring the month of July 2010 as a time to recognize the city’s history.

Also prior to Poe and Kirkonis taking the stage — which was set up in the middle of the football field at Cleveland High School’s stadium — a concert was held featuring Access Band and the Texas Roadrunners Band. As the bands played, children were entertained in a special kids zone set up by Cleveland City Manager Philip Cook and his wife, Nancy, and managed by students with the Cleveland High School National Honor Society.

Following Poe and Kirkonis was a 20-minute fireworks show synchronized to patriotic songs. The fireworks were arranged by Celestial Displays of Conroe and paid for by sponsors.

All of the weekend’s events, except for the community luncheon on Sunday and the dance on Friday, were free to the public.

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