Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The 4th of July is a great time to take a break from work and spend time with family and friends. But it's important to also take a moment to appreciate what the holiday really means.
"It means freedom," said Raelene Wharff, "That's another reason why we like to support our military is because without them who knows where we would be."
"As a veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, served time in Germany," said Veteran Larry Russell, a director with the Celebrate Freedom Foundation, "I know what it's like to be in a third world country. Everyone in the United States needs to go to a third world country to see what it's like other places because they have no idea how blessed we are and how fortunate we are in this country. And it's because these veterans, these soldiers fought for our freedom."
"The 4th of July means to me is to spend time with your family and friends," said 12-year-old Rasheeda Hardy, "and appreciate the people who sacrifice their lives for you."
To Richard Rouse, the holiday means, "Celebrating America's birthday, celebrating our troops who are doing a lot for us. Just being free. Living in America is the best country in the world and I wouldn't trade it for nothing else in the world."
News19 asked citizens if they had a message they would like to send to our troops overseas.
"Keep up the good work!" said Wharff. " Thank you very much for the sacrifice that you make and that your family makes for us because that means a lot to us as well."
"I hope they be safe and that they come back home as soon as possible," added Rouse.
"I wish I was with you guys," Russell said choking back tears. "We're here to celebrate what you've done and what you're doing today. So be safe, be careful and come home. "