**07 February 2017**
Of all of the non-US islands of the Caribbean, we probably know Grenada the best. It provides safe harbor during the lengthy hurricane season in summer and fall, but also offers numerous services, beautiful scenery, a friendly and welcoming population, and generally pleasant weather.
Christopher Columbus first viewed the island on his third voyage to the Caribbean in 1498. In 1649 the first colony was established by the French to take advantage of the large natural harbor on the west coast that provided the best hurricane protection of all of the neighboring islands.
Over the next three centuries control changed hands between the British and the French several times, but it was the British who finally granted Grenada her independence in 1974.
The country has had a lively history since that time, including the US invasion in 1983 that prevented the USSR from gaining a foothold in the southern Caribbean.
2017 marks her 43rd year of independence, and I had a chance to join the local population in the the national sports stadium to watch their annual celebration.
The crowds, and our small group of visitors, were all dressed in the bright national colors of red yellow and green, and we enjoyed a parade of local military and youth groups giving tribute to the Prime Minister and the people.