Originally published Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at 06:05a.m.

“America is best described in one word: Freedom!” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Below are some personal opinions of local residents and why they are proud of our great country.

Lee Nelson who has been a proud member of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) since 1971 said this.

“To me being an American is an unbelievable privilege. Having lived and visited in other countries, I know the value of our freedoms and I never take them for granted. It was eye opening for me to have been on a DAR Guardian ‘Honor Flight’ with 30 World War II veterans and experience their emotional journey back in time. We toured monuments and memorials together in Washington D.C., places that honored their service and sacrifices to our country. You cannot come away from such a special thing like that and not be proud of this nation and its people. That is why I celebrate the 4th of July in a big way. We can complain all we want (it’s our right) about what’s wrong with the United States, but just try going to other areas of our world where you can’t even speak your mind, and I guarantee, you’ll come back with a whole new perspective and appreciation for our America! America is my home and always will be.”

Don Wichner proudly served in the United States Navy from 1960 -1964 and his son served in the Navy and Marines, had this to say.

“When we celebrate the 4th we are celebrating the birth of our nation and that is why everyone should always stand to salute the flag, which is a symbol of our society. I feel people at pour 4th of July parades should salute each float that is carrying an American flag.

While in the Navy I traveled to several countries on my ship the USS El Dorado-AGC-11, and I’m very proud to have served my country.

Every second Tuesday and fourth Thursday local veterans get together at the Chino Valley Senior Center at 8 a.m. for a Veterans breakfast. Any veteran who would like to join us is welcome.”

Jane Dammann, who served in the United States Air Force from 1977 to 1985, stated, “America is the greatest nation in the world. I’ve always thought our nation was founded on the free exchange of information. Now it seems we have a bunch of bullies who don’t think we should have our own opinions.

I’m very proud to have served my country, and I think there are millions of people in this country who love and appreciate our freedoms. We celebrate the 4th of July because we broke away from an oppressive government, and hopefully we will not reinstate that. America is all about being free to have our own opinion and to respect those who think differently.”

Navy veteran Greg Barnes feels this way.

“I personally believe that people should be proud of what this nation has accomplished in just 200 plus years. We are the most powerful nation and the most generous nation in the world.

Yes, we have our ups and downs and disagreements but we can all come together and be proud of the liberties that this country gives us.

As a veteran, the people who disagree and protest with what this country is doing need to know that we gave them the freedom to do that.

In other countries they would be arrested or worse. People should be thankful we can celebrate the 4th of July and not have to go through what our founding fathers had to go through for signing the Declaration of Independence.

So this 4th as you are barbequing, and picnicking in the park with your families etc. I ask people to take a moment to reflect on what the people in the military who can’t spend time with their families have done for you. Please keep our president, country and the men and women of the military in your prayers.”