Our Voice: We're thankful for the many parts that make Tri-Cities whole

July 11, 2013 

Water Balloon Fight

July 5, 2013 - Billy Priest of Richland takes a direct shot from a water balloon Thursday during an annual block party and water balloon fight in the 1300 block of Sanford Ave. in Richland. Dozens of people on two teams squared off for the fight armed with more than 4,000 balloons. Afterward, participants attended a potluck barbecue. Priest was the captain of the losing team.

RICHARD DICKIN — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Last week we celebrated the birth of our country. It reminds us that we are all different in so many ways but that there also is a common thread, or two, running through the tapestry of our community.

Fourth of July

We're grateful for the organizers and participants in the Fourth of July parade and other activities. Thousands of people lined the parade route and almost 70 entries participated. That's a lot of people. And it's a lot of red, white and blue.

And it's a lot of work.

Other events add to the excitement. They, too, are a lot of work.

But they add up to a great feeling of celebration that gives us a moment to reflect on the things we love about our country.

Block party

The huge water balloon fight that one Richland neighborhood organizes is a fun reminder that we are all in this together.

We suspect that a great many of us don't know our neighbors well. People are more likely to have friends on Facebook who may live on the other side of the country than friends on their street.

The days of sitting on the porch with your neighbors enjoying a glass of lemonade or knocking on a friend's backdoor for a cup of coffee are all but gone.

Neighborhood Watch programs are a formal way of trying to get us to reconnect with each other. Epic water balloon battles are another way to do that. And after the fight -- a potluck.

With or without the water balloons, we recommend getting to know your neighbors and are heartened to see pockets of people doing just that.

Summer fun

We are continually surprised by the different events people participate in. Raise your hand if you knew there is an event called the Ride and Tie that involves running and riding. It came as news to us. Also that a national champion lives and trains in Pasco?

The Mid-Columbia truly does have something for everyone. On a walk through Howard Amon Park, you will see people playing tennis, biking, swimming in the river and running, walking or skating on the path.

If you browse the entertainment section of the Tri-City Herald on any Friday, you will find a play to go to, a concert to attend -- a community event of some kind that will spark your interest.

There's something in the MidColumbia for the athlete and the nerd, for horse and rider and everyone in-between.

When you walk down the street keep your eyes open. You'll be surprised at what you see. We have a lot of diversity and opportunities.

Walk-a-thon

Most of us don't like walking from the parking lot to the store. That's why we spend so long circling the parking lot. So the idea of walking from Pennsylvania to Washington seems ambitious.

And although it would be a huge challenge, many of us might be able to walk 28 miles in one day, but it would be hard to get up the next morning and do it again -- every day for three months.

Rae Smith wants to raise awareness about eating disorders and some money to fight the problem. We wish her well. It's a topic worthy of discussion. Perhaps she can get a sponsorship from a shoe manufacturer?

Teen programmers

A trio of Mid-Columbia teens have proved, at least to themselves, that they are competitive when comes to technology. Sometimes our biggest obstacle to success is convincing ourselves.

They didn't win the Seattle app-making event. The smartphone application they worked on for eight hours -- which warns drivers that they are approaching a school zone so they can slow down -- didn't meet the requirement that it be focused on education.

But they did earn an honorable mention for a second app that lets students check on their grades, review assignments and communicate with teachers. It also earned them an invitation to a follow-up competition in Hawaii. Their futures look bright.

And, once again, who knew all that talent was right here in our community.

Whether it's someone walking across the country or running with his horse, there are many interesting people to see and things to do in the part of Washington we all call home.

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