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Independence Day inspires patriots

| Saturday, July 5, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Friday evening, at the Noble J. Dick Aquatorium in Monongahela, area residents – many dressed in red, white and blue – enjoyed music, food and, ultimately, fireworks.

It was a chance to celebrate a mid-summer holiday.

Residents throughout the Mid-Mon Valley took part in traditional Fourth of July traditions, including parades and picnics.

But they also took time to remember the reason for the holiday – to celebrate America's independence.

“It means that we salute the men and women who fight for our freedom,” said Levona Lazzari of New Eagle, adding that she “enjoys” wearing red, white and blue on the Fourth of July.

Ken Dodlaszewski, a World War II re-enactor, began his day by riding in a World War II-era jeep in a Baldwin parade before going to the aquatorium.

“It's a celebration of our freedoms and liberty and independence,” Dodlaszewski said. “It really is a definition of what America is. A lot of people sacrificed for what we have.”

His wife, Cindy Dodlaszewski, agreed.

“It means I can live in a country where I have a lot of opportunities and privileges,” she said. “We take a lot of that for granted. It's nice to have a day like this to illustrate that.”

Carol and Rod Callahan of Louisville, Ky., traveled to the Valley to visit family members.

“It means freedom for America,” Carol Callahan said.

Rod Callahan served in the U.S. Navy in the early 1980s.

“I fought for my country, so it means everything,” Rod Callahan said.

Earl Landy of Mt. Pleasant said he began his day watching a parade in his hometown. Landy said he equates Independence Day to parades.

“It's a good holiday,” Landy said. “It's a good cause.”

But Marion Sevich of Monongahela had the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 on her mind.

“It's the birthday of our country,” Sevich said.

Linda Buffa of New Eagle said she enjoys celebrations and picnics.

“It's when the states became a union,” Buffa said.

As dusk approached, Jim Jones of Elizabeth Township anticipated seeing the sky lit up over the city.

“I love the fireworks,” Jones said.

“It means the freedom we have. This is the greatest country to live in. It's just a great, great country.”

Sitting next to Jones, Vickie Budd of Elizabeth Township also found patriotic meaning in the day.

“It's a day to remember what we have, such as liberty and freedom of speech,” Budd said. “We live in the greatest country in the world.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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