No act of heroism is so celebrated here in America as the Fourth of July -- Independence Day -- when, 224 years ago, ordinary men -- lawyers, a clergyman, a cobbler and businessmen, among others -- put everything on the line by signing of the Declaration of Independence.
They could have been killed and left their families destitute and shamed had we lost the revolution, something that we must never forget as we celebrate the freedom they gave us.
So how do we celebrate what these founders of our nation did? What do we do, how do we remember them, on Independence Day? What do we teens look forward to each Fourth of July?
Family seems to be a big part of what we do on Independence Day, no matter where teens spend it. Many go to the house of a specific relative, like Kristen Cottle, a junior at Northridge this fall, who goes to her dad's house, or Sarah Hyer, a Roy junior this fall, who spends the holiday at her grandmother's.
For recent Roy graduate Karli Trimble, "It's always up in Huntsville at Uncle Tryce's ... I love it!"
Veronica Garcia, another junior at Roy this fall, doesn't need one spot, just "anywhere you can put a tent" when she goes "camping with my humongo family!"
"We usually have a barbecue in our backyard and watch the fireworks," says Morgan Hamblin, a Syracuse sophomore this fall.
Fireworks to food
Many teens, like Hyer, watch traditional parades, or fireworks, or often both, like Rachel Wiemer, a fall junior at Northridge.
Cottle and her family also attend both traditional celebratory displays, "then we go home and get out the sparklers!"
Trimble's activities involve taking advantage of what her uncle's area has to offer; they "sit on the porch, chat, play with the dogs, run around his huge yard, go to the dam and then we ride in the back of Tryce's truck and sing patriotical songs. It's my favorite!"
Eating is usually also part of the festivities. Many, like Wiemer, have a barbecue of some kind.
Hamblin's family has "souvlaki (a type of meat-kabob dish) because they are good and it's a family tradition we always do."
Trimble's family makes "hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill ... my mom's famous Chex mix and of course Tarbie's yummy chocolate chip cookies."
Hyer looks forward to cheesecake for dessert.
"It is homemade by my mom and dad and is better than any store-bought stuff," she says.
Hannah Benge, a Northridge junior this fall, likes it when her family sometimes has "red, white and blue ice cream; it's interesting and different."
While camping, Garcia's family eats s'mores because they're "perfect for bonfires."
Uniting as patriots
Amidst all this celebrating, we remember why we are, in fact, celebrating.
"It ... helps us remember our freedom," says Wiemer.
Hyer says, "I love how this is the one day America unites in patriotism, not capitalism."
Benge's family has a tradition specifically to remember the "why" of the Fourth of July.
"It's a good holiday, but it's also a good time to remember our freedom and all it was bought with," the Northridge student says. "It's always good to remember something so important. Every year for the Fourth of July we write a poem or writing piece on what is means to us and read them together as a family. This helps us remember all that our freedom stands for, and what we gave to gain it as a country."
TX. correspondents Lynette Randall, Northridge High School, and Michelle Thurgood, Syracuse High School, contributed to this story.
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Lindsey Larson is a recent graduate of Roy High School. She enjoys reading, writing, acting and watching movies, especially with her friends. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.