Birthday Parade


Decorated cars drive down the street to celebrate Graham Garrett’s birthday.

Evan Morgan, Staff Writer

April 7th, 2020, started off like any beautiful spring day in Fort Collins, Colorado. The sun was glistening. The birds were singing their elegant songs in the trees above. But today something even more beautiful was about to take place. 


Today was Graham Garrett’s 11th birthday. This year, the Lopez Elementary School’s 5th grader would have to celebrate without his father. 


Graham’s father was a front line worker in the fight against the coronavirus, which took his life weeks before his son’s birthday.   


The community immediately devised a plan to make Graham’s birthday one that he would never forget. My family and I spent that morning inflating dozens of vibrant balloons and tying them to the car. We embellished the metal with streamers and “happy birthday” messages. 


At 10:00 am we headed to the elementary school to join in Graham’s surprise birthday car parade.  While turning on to Moss Creel Drive, the line of cars came into sight. A strong emotion, one that words can’t explain, wrapped around my heart. It was powerful. It was moving. 


There were over 50 cars accompanied by police officers, officers on motorcycles, and fire trucks. Cars were decorated with signs and banners. People were smiling and waving to each other from the safety of their cars. It was a gathering of a community, to support one young man. 


At 10:15 am the cars began to move. We made a simple loop past the Garrett household where Graham and his family stood on the porch smiling, waving, and crying. The cars passed with shouts of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY,” honks of horns, and waves of love. 


The sense of community and togetherness was overwhelming. The parade was a small act, with a huge amount of love behind it. It was to celebrate Graham’s 11th birthday, but it ended up serving a bigger purpose. It showed that even though we are all apart right now, we will always find ways to come together. 

We will always find ways to show love. 

We will always find ways to celebrate with each other.