So, what does America and Independence Day mean to my family and I? Well, aside from the obvious - I wouldn't be here if my ancestors didn't come here - I realize that I am very blessed to be a citizen of the United States. Even though I was born a U. S. citizen, most of my ancestors were not citizens of the U. S. when they were born.
Although I don't know the all of the reasons why my ancestors chose to come to America - even though I plan to find out one day - I do know that a couple of my ancestors came to America with the hope that they would have more and better economic opportunities. I would not be surprised, though, if an ancestor's economic situation played a major factor in his or her decision to move to America. At the same time, I cannot imagine what my ancestors might have felt at the thought of moving to a foreign country, especially my German ancestors who would have been moving to a country where a different language was spoken and where there was a different culture. Despite whatever they may have felt, they came. So, America, to my family, has always been a place of opportunity.
As for Independence Day, my family has always associated the day with fireworks, barbecues, and remembering the efforts of our veterans in serving our country (yes, even more so than Memorial Day or Veteran's Day). While growing up, I remember watching the Detroit fireworks on TV - and once in down in Detroit - and the fireworks from the Spree, that always took place around the Fourth, from the front porch of the house I used to live in. As I grew older, my family would go on vacation around the Fourth. Last year, my family and I went out west, and a few days before the Fourth, we went to the evening lighting program at Mount. Rushmore. During the ceremony, the MC had all the veterans in the audience to come up to the stage and after the whole stage was filled up with veterans, people yelled out, "Thank you!"
So, what is my point? Independence Day in my family has always been associated with honoring our veterans and remembering how lucky we are to be free and live in the U. S. Without the immigration of all of our ancestors to the U. S. and the efforts of our veterans, the United States would not exist as it does today.