I asked several individuals what Independence Day means to them and their responses ranged from the symbolism of soldiers fighting for our country to spending time with family. In the small town of Dixon Missouri, there are numerous veterans that have settled here after being retired from the nearby base, Fort Leonard Wood.

I have grown up surrounded by patriotism and I've absolutely loved it. Fourth of July has always been a fun time with family but its important to reflect on what the holiday really means.

The Fourth of July makes me realize that we takes things for granted. In America, I have rights. In several other countries I would have slim to none, especially since I am a women. In my country, I get to let my voice be heard. I get to have a family of my own and marry the one I love. I am given endless opportunities.

Although the S'Mores and fireworks are a score, the sacrifice made to enjoy these little things are significant. Not only do the soldiers serve our country but their families. Their families go months without seeing or hearing from them or not knowing if they're okay.

It's hard to comprehend that some families will not celebrating this holiday but mourning their soldier that didn't make it home. We often are blind to the fact that our freedom doesn't come easily. Someone loses a family members or friend just so we can have these rights.

I am forever grateful that I live in such an amazing country that allows me to simply enjoy life. My heart is with the families missing a loved one, either across the world or one who has laid down their life.

This is what Independence Day means to me, what does it mean to you?