Waukesha Strong: City's Independence Day parade marks step forward in healing from tragedy

Waukesha Strong: City’s Independence Day parade marks step forward in healing from tragedy

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Hundreds lined the streets of downtown Waukesha for the return of its Independence Day parade, a sign of a return to tradition following the pandemic as well as another step forward towards healing as the community recovers from last year's Christmas parade tragedy.

Classic sights and sounds like American flags and marching bands filled the parade route alongside reminders of how the city is healing with added security and "Waukesha Strong" posters.

"I feel safe and it's nice to see the whole community out today," Margie Cavaleri told CBS 58. "This is a wonderful Fourth of July, celebrate Independence Day."

Added security included newly-acquired modular vehicle barriers -- or MVBs -- as well as increased police presence.

Community members said seeing their family, friends and neighbors enjoying the parade was an important step forward.

"It just warms my heart, it's just wonderful to see the community out here recovering from that terrible event," Cavaleri said, referring to last year's Christmas parade tragedy where six people were killed and dozens injured when a man drove an SUV into the parade route.

The Independence Day parade's theme was Waukesha Strong. Along the theme, parade-goers were handed "stars of hope" with positive messages supporting the event's theme.

Along with those messages of hope, parade-goers of all ages were treated to other parade traditions.

"I love it out here, it's very cool, there's a lot of trucks and stuff and they pass out candy," Aubrey of Waukesha said.

"It was great to be out here," said David, a father who brought out his family to the parade. "Be with the family seeing all the great activities and everything, everyone enjoyed themselves."

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