FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It's a beautiful holiday weekend, and people are celebrating the nation's birthday in many different ways. After speaking with four local residents, it's obvious they have lots of different reasons for celebrating July 4th too.
"We're just out barbecuing, enjoying this beautiful weather, trying to enjoy Independence Day," says James Perry as he helps his friend barbecue chicken on the grill.
And Perry isn't alone. That's the ritual for many Fort Wayne families on this sunny Fourth of July.
"Barbecuing, maybe lighting some fireworks later on, just get together with friends and family," says Perry's friend, Wendell McPherson.
Meanwhile, Tom and Robin Mohr spent the morning riding the trails through Rockhill Park.
"It's just something that we should all enjoy a little bit more is the opportunity to be on the trails," says Robin Mohr.
And everyone has a different way and reason for celebrating on this Independence Day holiday.
"Friends and family get together and talk, visit, and have a nice time together," says McPherson.
"It brings a lot of people together, family, friends, and loved ones to just get out and enjoy each other, and most of all enjoy some of this good cooking," chuckled Perry.
"Everybody's getting prepared. We're all having fun out here. We've got our stars and striped shirts on, I mean we're on it," added Tom Mohr.
"Sometimes I used to think Fourth of July, all of the fireworks and stuff, but as I've got older it takes on a new meaning. To actually think about the independence that we do share," says his wife Robin.
234 years after the signing the Declaration of Independence, views on where America stands today vary widely.
"The moral values and some of the ways that we're headed, we've let it slide. We've had it so good, we're used to that. And you've got to know that people have died and have worked so hard to create what we've become here. And we should be proud of that," says Tom Mohr.
"I think it's headed pretty good. I'll be glad when the war is over. It will be good to have all the servicemen home with their families," says McPherson.
"I think there's a lot of disappointed people in the way that our country is being taken, flat out disappointed," says Robin Mohr.
"We just got to be patient and hopefully Obama will bring everything in the clear for us," says Perry.
Opinions on how to improve the country are just as varied.
"Jobs, bring jobs back to the United States," McPherson says.
Robin Mohr says the country is in need of unity. "As a nation we are gathering strength and standing together to stand behind not only the constitution but our declaration."
"It's a terrible shame about down on the Gulf Coast. He (Obama) needs to focus on that a little bit more and put the clamps down on the ones who are responsible," added Perry.
But for all four residents, today is about enjoying the holiday and remembering the true meaning of Independence Day.
"I think everybody should take it for what it is. We've got freedom. Let's not forget that," says Robin Mohr.
"Carry the feeling that you have today and the pride in your nation through every day," adds her husband, Tom Mohr. "Share it with everybody around you. Just walk up and give them a big hug. Tell them love you and I love the United States."
On this Independence Day, enjoy the fireworks, food, friends, and family. But however you chose to celebrate, take a moment to wish America a very happy 234th birthday.
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