ackson County's "Big Bang" Fourth of July Celebration proved to be a big hit. Approximately 20,000 people attended the event at Longview Lake.
"This is the third year Jackson County has hosted a Fourth of July event, and each year we've been able to deliver a celebration bigger than the one that proceeded it," said County Executive Mike Sanders. "Tomorrow, we'll begin planning next year's celebration, so it'll be even bigger and better."
While the largest fireworks finale in the Midwest capped off the 2014 Fourth of July "Big Bang" in dramatic fashion, the highlight of the evening might just have been Jackson County's Salute To The Military. The county honored both veterans and active duty personnel in each branch of the Armed Forces. Taking center stage -- literally -- were local World War II vets, many of whom recalled their service in the famous D-Day invasion 70 years ago in a special video aired on large screens adjacent the stage.
"The fireworks were certainly spectacular," said Sanders, "but I'll always remember meeting those heroes of the Greatest Generation who helped save the world. I'm glad that we had a chance to honor them."
The Salute To The Military included taking flag-waving to new heights as Skydive KC parachutists jumped from a plane -- one while attached to a giant flag.
The Arkansas-based country rock band Backroad Anthem performed a live concert throughout the evening, which also featured games, inflatable slides and concession stands. The county also continued the Stand Down donation drive to assist homeless veterans.