South Mississippi Residents Celebrate Freedom

Fourth of July fun means fireworks, watermelons and cook outs.

But it's also about waving flags, and proudly displaying the red, white and blue. The more serious side of Independence Day is about celebrating freedom, and recalling the sacrifice that makes America so special.

Freedom is the word most folks mention when discussing America's birthday. South Mississippi is typically a patriotic place. And that patriotism is especially evident on Independence Day.

Visitors to Gulfport's Fishing Rodeo received small American flags. VFW Post 2539 and its Ladies Auxiliary wanted everyone to reflect on the meaning of this holiday.

"I love the freedom that we have in America. And I thank my fellow veterans for the freedom they allowed us to have today because of their sacrifices to our country," said one VFW veteran.

"What's not to love about America? It's the greatest country in the world. We've got problems of course, but it's still the greatest country in the world. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else," said another veteran, as he passed out the small flags.

A member of the Ladies Auxillary was turning heads in her red, white and blue outfit.

"Well, I wore this on purpose today so I could show everybody that I really believe that we're in America and it's free," she explained.

Patriotic Americans spent time on the beach this Fourth of July. We spotted an Uncle Sam of sorts patrolling the waterfront.

"Any other country you don't have the freedom we have. That people take for granted," said the Uncle Sam lookalike.

Louisiana visitors enjoyed the freedom of cooking out on a boardwalk between the beach and busy highway.

"I love everything about America because we're all free. It's good to be out here on the Fourth of July barbecuing," said the head chef.

Americans with the holiday off, spent time relaxing and reflecting.

"Freedom to vote. To speak. About anything we like. Freedom of religion. That's big with me," said one beach visitor.

"Visit a foreign country. Visit any country overseas. And when you come back to this part of the world, you understand what it's all about. Expression of freedom is unlimited here," said one of the VFW veterans outside the fishing rodeo.