GAMBIER — Naming the Gambier Citizen of the Year is a traditional part of the village’s Fourth of July celebration. The honored citizen is known to only a few until the announcement at the ceremony before the parade. Bob Tier and Roger Fannin were named co-citizens of the year for their years of service and giving to the community as owners of the Village Market.
“I never got one of these before,” said Fannin, looking at his Citizen of the Year plaque. “But they did spell my name right.”
“This is a great honor,” Tier said.
Gambier Mayor Kirk Emmert gave his annual keynote speech on the meaning of the Fourth of July. This year he talked about what the Declaration of Independence meant to the country.
Emmert said the day is one when people get together to celebrate something they share.
“What is that something?” he asked. “A love of parades, of anticipation of hot dogs and hamburgers at a family or village picnic, of later fireworks, of short patriotic speeches? But more than that, we celebrate the principles of government and view of human possibilities that guided and impelled us to separation from the British Empire.”
Emmert went on to cite Alexis de Tocqueville, who praised Americans for “their exercise of political liberty or self-government and warns that a retreat into privateness and political apathy will lead to political despotism and the moral enervation or decline of the citizenry. Tocqueville reminds us that political liberty is the core of American liberty and the support of our constitutional order.”
In the parade, the Gambier Kazoo Band was out in force, as well as the antique tractors, the canine corps, youngsters on bicycles and motorcycles. The only thing lacking this year was the annual appearance of members of the School For Mime Theater with their annual skit.
A potluck picnic rounded out the day’s activities.