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Celebrating July 4th in America

Americans observe their Independence Day on July fourth. People across the country celebrate in many different ways.

July fourth, Independence Day, is a patriotic day in the United States. On that day in 1776, the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence from Britain.

For many the day means time off from work, time with family and friends.

Here is what some Americans have to say about July 4th.

"I realize it's an Independence Day…but what it's turned into after 200 plus years is just a wonderful day off to enjoy the country, and fireworks, and the flag" says Dominic Nicola.

"It's usually a family time for us" comments Ikbek Tafi.

"We typically have a family camping trip to Devil's Lake in Baraboo, Wisconsin, but this year, we're going to be participating in our local parade for my son's Indian guide group" says Chris Visic.

Many Americans attend daytime celebrations such as picnics, barbecues and parades.

Like many other U.S. cities, Washington D.C., the nation's capital, has an annual Fourth of July parade.

But for many, the real highlight comes after dark, the fireworks.

"I live in Maine, and sometimes we sail out to watch fireworks" comments Claudia Whitman.

Fireworks have been associated with the Fourth of July since 1777, when citizens of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania celebrated with bonfires, gunshots and explosions. These days, people enjoy buying smaller fireworks and staging their own neighborhood shows, but there is still the tradition in places of the large, spectacular pyrotechnics display.

The Fourth of July also brings reflection.

"We try to make sure that these national holidays are not just barbecuing and fun times, there's an underlying historical meaning to it, so we try to emphasize that" says Ikbek Tafi.