Whether it was faith, family or fun, Independence Day celebrants in both Selma and Kingsburg had a multitude of freedoms they were thankful for on Monday.
Selma held its Fourth of July celebration at the Selma High School football stadium while Kingsburg had their celebration at Kingsburg High's stadium. Both events featured fireworks, food vendors, music, kids activities and more.
Both cities also recognized the armed forces. Selma's event included the performance of hymns from each military branch. The Kingsburg celebration featured Boy Scouts conducting a flag retirement ceremony.
Many attendees wanted to thank servicemen and women in all military branches for their freedoms. We asked people what July 4 meant to them and what freedoms they were especially grateful for. Here’s what they replied:
Q: What does the 4th of July mean to you?
A: Danny Hernandez, with the Prestige band: “It’s a celebration of American freedom, and that’s one of the most coveted and desired things in the entire world. This is a celebration where we honor those men and women in the Armed Forces and the fire and police services who defend our right to enjoy our liberties. American freedom is perhaps one of the costliest of all things in the world because it cost human lives. They paid with their lives so we can enjoy events like this, so it’s always an honor to perform where we’re honoring those people.”
A:John Bracamonte, Selma: "Your freedom to be yourself and admire the sacrifice the individuals who put their lives out there for us to enjoy that freedom gave. It’s a democracy, so we have a huge say in how we carry ourselves and it’s very important part of American history."
A: Irene Boyd, of Selma: “It means we live in a beautiful, wonderful country and we’re very blessed. When we can bring our families together like this and share all these beautiful things, it’s amazing!”
Q: What’s your favorite part of the 4th of July celebration?
A: Eduardo Andrade, Kingsburg: “The fireworks! My kids love them and they enjoy watching it, so I take them everywhere can. We like the pretty, colorful fireworks that go up in the sky.”
A: Tabatha Andrade, Kingsburg: “My favorite food is the shaved banana and cherry snow cones. It’s the memories we make with our girls bringing them out here and letting them experience what we experienced as children.”
Q: What does it mean to be a good American?
A: Jessica Stout, Kingsburg’s Girl Scout Troup #2402: “Respecting the earth and picking up after others.”
Q: What freedoms do appreciate being able to exercise in the U.S.A?
A: Bethany Bracamonte, Selma: "One is religion. That’s a big one for us because we’re religious, and in other countries, they don’t have the freedom to be religious and they have to have underground churches. I think that’s pretty good that we have worship of religion. That’s a big one for me."
A: Lisa Flores, Selma: “When the fireworks go off, a lot of thoughts go through my head. A lot of people sacrificed their lives so we could have freedom. At the same time, I’m thankful and grateful for my own family and all the things we’ve gone through and all the blessings that we may take for granted. It just makes me very grateful.”
Q: What’s your favorite patriotic song?
A: Tina Marie Lockwood, lead singer with Prestige: “My favorite one is Neil Diamond’s ‘Coming to America.’ That’s my favorite, favorite one. We didn’t do that one, but we did ‘Independence Day’ by Martina McBride and a couple from the Vietnam era. I appreciate all the freedoms and pride. Fourth of July to me is about reflection on the sacrifices that have been made across the board, not just the military, but their families and friends. Whether they come back or not, it’s change for a lot of people.”
Q: How do you like to show patriotism during the Fourth of July?
A: Roy Boyd, of Selma: “I feel like anytime they’re raising the flag or the anthem’s being sung, people need to be standing or saluting.”