CHATHAM, NJ - There was a sign along the "alternate route" Fourth of July Parade in Chatham on Saturday that said: "Emma Zapata for President".
The sign underscored the popularity of the idea penned by the 12-year-old Chatham resident, who revived the annual Independence Day celebration with her letter to the mayor. As a result, Chatham residents emerged from their homes to cheer on the drive-by parade and thank first responders and frontline health care workers in a unique display of patriotism and gratitude.
The American Flag was raised at the Chatham Borough Firehouse by first responders, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chatham Borough Mayor Thaddeus Kobylarz opined as to why he hadn't thought of the idea to hold a zig-zag parade through Chatham streets in place of the traditional march down Main Street, which had been canceled in May due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
"If you can't take the people to the parade, take the parade to the people," Kobylarz said in his remarks below.
Kobylarz praised Zapata for rekindling "our collective spirit here in Chatham Borough."
Zapata was named the honorary Grand Marshal of the alternate-route Fourth of July Parade in the video below.
Emma Zapata speaks about the revived parade during ceremonies at the Chatham Borough firehouse on Saturday.
Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill speaks before riding beside Grand Marshal Emma Zapata in Chatham's alternate-route Fourth of July Parade.