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Turlock couple to usher in patriotic celebration
parade grand marshals pic
Local veteran Lawrence Cahill and his wife Vera will serve as co-Grand Marshals for Turlocks annual Fourth of July Downtown Parade. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Lawrence and Vera Cahill have travelled all around the globe, from Japan to Germany and almost everywhere in between. This Independence Day, however, the couple will take a trip close to home, travelling down Main Street in Turlock as co-Grand Marshals in the Fourth of July Downtown Parade.

Lawrence served as an intelligence analyst in the Air Force for 20 years, and as a war veteran, the Fourth of July has always been an important day. But, having the privilege of sitting alongside his wife as co-Grand Marshals in the parade has made the holiday extra special.

“It means a lot,” said Lawrence. “I’ve always been a patriot. I’ve been to 39 countries while I was in the military, and I liked this one the best.”

Lawrence and Vera were nominated by their son to serve as co-Grand Marshals in Turlock’s annual parade, and it came as quite a shock.

“We were stunned,” said Vera. “We really weren’t expecting it.”

Though the couple has only lived in Turlock for 10 years, their family has deep roots in the city’s history. Lawrence’s great grandparents called Turlock home during the 1910s, and according to him, Cahill Avenue is named after his late relatives. Lawrence’s grandparents also lived in Turlock through the '50s, and their home was located on Broadway near where the police department currently sits.

Lawrence spent childhood days walking to the Stanislaus County Fair from his grandparents’ house. It was at age 13 that he met Vera – she was 10 at the time, and from there their relationship blossomed until they married seven years later.

Vera is a self-described Air Force wife, who travelled all over the globe with Lawrence throughout his military career. Lawrence served in Vietnam from 1968-69, and Vera took care of the home and their four sons while he was gone. Though it’s the Cahills’ belief that they were chosen as co-Grand Marshals because of Lawrence’s time in the service, Lawrence believes that all eyes should be on Vera during the parade.

“We’ve been together for a long time, and I didn’t do anything special,” said Lawrence. “She’s the special one.”

After 61 years of marriage, the couple has done many things together but leading a parade will be a first.

“It’s an honor,” said Vera.

This year’s Fourth of July Downtown Parade has a theme of Stars and Stripes and will begin at 10 a.m. Monday on Main Street. A car show and street fair will be held in downtown Turlock from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. A Kids Zone area will be set up at Central Park and offer bounce houses, face painting, balloon artists and other family-friendly activities free of charge.

City of Turlock, the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and Stanislaus State will once again host Fourth of July fireworks on the university campus this year. The campus will open to the public at 7 p.m. with live music, kids activities and food vendors. The 30-minute fireworks show is set to begin between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.