TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Independence Day events are still on for tonight despite the afternoon rain.
The party started early in Longview and Tyler with food, family and fun as the crowd celebrated what freedom means to each of them.
"It means to me that there're a lot of people fighting for our freedom, and some people come home and some people don't," Tyler resident Zoe Massey said.
"My brother, he's in the army and my grandmother, her birthday is today, she's passed away, but that's why we celebrate it," Longview fair attendee Brittni Trent said.
For some it's not about what Americans have, but rather what others do not.
"Having that freedom to do and say whatever you want and not have to worry about being arrested or anything like that," Longview resident Jario Arteaga said.
But some East Texans say the best things are closer to home.
"The fireworks, that's my favorite part," Roxanne Mayfield said. "And hanging out with family."
One firework stand employee offers a few words of caution.
"It was scary," Tyler resident Brilen Seratte said. "We lit the woods on fire and almost burnt down the house."
As East Texans prepare for the grand finale in the sky, some are putting the day into perspective.
"We need to look back and see the difference before July 4, 1776 and now," Seratte said.
If you're still looking for the perfect fireworks viewing location, we've got a full list of Independence Day celebrations for this evening.