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Celebrating freedoms

Families gather to remember

POSTED: July 4, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Mark Watkins Dawson Community News/

Brothers Allen and Jeremy Herd splash around in the Etowah River.

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In celebration of Independence Day, Dawson County residents often flock to Lake Lanier, local parks, area attractions and traditional fireworks extravaganzas.

Dressed in patriotic colors, many families relish the opportunity to spend time together with picnics, activities and traditions.

Through it all, Pam Hamalainen, president of Veterans Affairs of Dawson County, said it's important to honor and remember those who have served and sacrificed for national freedom.

"If it wasn't for our veterans and active servicemen, we wouldn't be able to even celebrate Independence Day," she said. "They fought, and many died, for our freedoms. It's good to remember [that] it's not just about fireworks."

Barbara Bosanko agreed.

While the Dawsonville resident enjoys being with family and friends, she said she always remembers the purpose of the nation's birthday.

"The most important part for me is remembering our freedom and thanking our troops," Bosanko said.

Still, the Fourth of July is one of the social highlights of the summer, particularly for children.

Many kids often anticipate the fireworks when attending public celebrations, such as Dawson Day "Sparks in the Park" held Tuesday.

"My favorite part is mostly fireworks because they're pretty," said 9-year-old Kendra Ricketts.

Jason Cash, 4, agreed. He said he's excited about fireworks, but also loves "parades, candy and cold water."

For some like Jean Kaitis, July Fourth has become a time to rest and reflect.

"I like to relax, enjoy the outdoors, be with my friends and just enjoy the day," she said.

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