Roughly 50 people made their way from the Mason County Courthouse to the western end of Ludington Avenue through the rain Saturday morning as a part of a march to show unity in the country.
Brandi Fulker organized the march as a display for affection for the country and try to get people to rally together.
“I don’t think I’m the only person that loves this country,” she said as she walked back toward the courthouse following the march. “When I see people come out here and march in the rain and carry their flags, and people driving by with the thumb’s up and the waves and honks, I know that we’re out there. I know if we need to come together, we will. I know if it’s rainy, and it’s needed, we’ll still do it.”
Before the march began, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole and U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, each gave remarks about the need to work together as citizens.
“Brandi organized the whole thing,” Cole said on the steps outside the courthouse. “She believed that we need to be a better community and to each other for her young son. I knew we could put our swords down for a day, and I knew we could find common ground for a march.”
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited followed by the playing of the national anthem. As the pledge was said, Oscar Davila and his wife Gen held an American flag up together, and it was one that has very special meeting to the couple.
““My little one, Lucia, was diagnosed with a fatal illness, and she passed away in November of 2019,” Gen said at the end of Ludington Avenue, saying her daughter suffered from mucopolysaccharidosis type II, also known as Hunter syndrome. “In her honor, the MPS Society — the people that do that type of research for that type of disorder — they flew this over the capitol in her memory when she passed away. I keep her flag on hand in her memory.
“We do what’s right, and I guess, I stand up for what I believe in and honor her even when she’s not here,” she said. “Pursue the truth. It’s very sacred to me.”
Fulker’s chief goal was to have something positive happen, and she believes it was accomplished Saturday.
“I think we had a pretty decent turnout. I think we succeeded in being something positive. I think it well considering the weather. I just wanted it be something positive, and I think it was a success,” she said.
It showed in a variety of ways as the marchers made their way to the lakeshore. Horns were honked, including some loud blasts from a diesel pick-up truck. There were waves and more, too.
Fulker said she overheard many positive conversations during the march, and the group was made up of her family, some elected officials beyond Cole and Huizenga, her coworkers and more. She is hopeful that more will come from Saturday’s march, although it was a bit dampened literally by the rain.
“Find blessings, find good, find civil conversation, find peace, find happiness, find grace, find tolerance, find pride, find goals, find kindness and find ways to be better. I hope we can choose to be a little kinder with our words and a little more accepting of those who share this country with us. Our children are watching,” Fulker said Saturday evening.
Once the march reached the end of the avenue near the shore, they waved their flags for a drone that was flying overhead. They recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and they got a little something more, too.
“As we finished at the beach today and recited the Pledge of Allegiance together as Americans, a bald eagle flew overhead and seated itself on the Ludington break wall,” she said. “We may not have been large in number but we were large in heart.”