As a patriotic procession made its way through downtown Rockford, local citizens wasted little time in describing what makes America such a great nation.
“I think it helps us remember what our principles our country was founded on, and coming to a parade in Rockford is like being in a melting pot of America in its self," Heidi Saavevra said.
"Just the ability to celebrate with this many people and not fear attack or any pressure and I think that's got to be the best thing," Ron Larsen said.
While the holiday parade celebrated our nation's gifts, others admitted the men and women defending those freedoms overseas are never forgotten.
"I think that's probably on everybody's mind, and we keep them in our thoughts, we keep them in our prayers. We're sorry they can't be here celebrating with us and with their families, but we wish them God speed and a quick recovery here," Kathy Mehalko said.
And while we await our troop’s arrival home, the holiday festivities united loved ones in patriotic fellowship.
"We should be thankful to have our families to be able to celebrate our freedoms, to say what we want, read what we want, go where we want to. We don't have to worry about anything," Mehalko said.
Freedoms honored, admired and celebrated across the city streets on the nation's 229th birthday.