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Celebrating, appreciating independence

| Wednesday, July 3, 2002

With the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 still sharp in our collective memory and the first Independence Day since the attack approaching, people have become reacquainted with this holiday's meaning.

And with national warnings about the possibility of a July 4 attack, people are not budging, not cowering and not changing their plans.

"Doesn't effect my plans at all, but even if you did, how long are you going to hide?" said Andy Kost, who is going to Sandcastle for his Independence Day with 15 of his friends.

"You can look at that as kind of trying to ignore everything, but we are just going to go out and have fun."

It can be impossible to ignore everything. Even those affected the least still feel the influence of the terrorism.

Mia Stivason of Adrian said that her plans are no different from any other year.

"My fiance and I are going to spend the day with my family and have a good day, but it isn't anything about Sept. 11," Stivason said, adding that the tragedy does make her appreciate the people in her life more.

"I never really realized what I had. You never really realize what you have until you lose it. When you lose something it makes you appreciate what have so much more."

Going into the first post-Sept. 11 Independence Day there is a renewed appreciation for the meaning and history of the holiday.

Dave Dunmire of Manorville said that he was one of many people who had taken the holiday for granted, but sees things differently this year.

"People are going to see a little more significance in it this year," Dunmire, a paramedic for the Ford City ambulance service, said. "July 4th means a little more to people now than what it used to.

"Before it was more of a party day, but now I think it will put the focus back on the actual holiday."

"It has brought a lot of history into the family," Denise Russick of Crooked Creek said. "We concentrate more on historical events and my husband is a fanatic. We are reading the newspaper more and keeping up with world news."

Working the information tent at Heritage Days, Ruth Pendleton said the holiday should focus more on the EMTs, firemen and police officers who protect us.

"When we go to parade and you see the firemen, you think about the fire trucks, and the trophies on the fire trucks," Pendleton said. "I think this year when you see the fire trucks, think about the firemen. Think about them and the dedication.

"We take them all for granted. When we're sick and the EMTs come, they are very gentle with you. They work with you and they give you a piece of mind to give you the little hope."

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