As an American flag unfurled in the breeze, several people attending the Set the Night to Music Fireworks Extravaganza weighed in Friday afternoon on their appreciation of freedom in a time of war.
"I appreciate the troops putting their life on the line for our freedom," said Samantha George, a teenager whose father, Bob George, stood by her side.
The elder George said he served 24 years in the Army National Guard and had tours of duty in Bosnia and Iraq as part of the 103rd Armor now at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Grove Street.
Spectators at the Set the Night to Music Fireworks Extravaganza were treated to an explosion of colorful fireworks. The fireworks show began soon after Jack Hoffman sang the traditional national anthem Friday. Earlier, bands performed on stage in the Hampton Inn parking lot for the crowds that steadily increased as the fireworks show neared. Comfortable and rather cool temperatures may have contributed to the large audience celebrating the nation’s 238th Independence Day.
Samantha and Bob George, a daughter and her father, appreciate the military troops, especially those who have given their lives in the name of freedom and liberty. The father served tours in Bosnia and Iraq as a member of the local Army National Guard.
For Chuck Cramm, a city resident and locksmith who works for a vehicle dealership, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was to be as treasured as much as the flag waving near the Susquehanna River Walk.
Cramm said it is wrong to force someone to worship the way someone else believes, and he appreciates the freedom of religion America affords.
Cramm also said he believes freedom of speech holds importance, especially compared to countries where one can get into trouble, harmed or killed for speaking out against the leadership.
City resident James Cobb, 26, holds freedom of speech and religion high on a pedestal.
"If you go outside the U.S., in most places, they don't have either choice," he said. "In some places, you must be a certain religion and can't speak out about your leadership. That's wrong."
Christina Riley, 32, is sick and tired of sending American troops to foreign lands - in particular, Afghanistan.
"I don't want American troops there any longer," Riley, a Florida resident living in a nearby campground over the summer months, said.
"Bring our troops home," she said.