TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Over the past 4 months , countless East Texas events and ceremonies have been cancelled due to the pandemic, some of them would have included honors for veterans.
With no parades or ceremonies, this July 4th takes on a different look to veterans, but one that they want people to think about.
"I got a KIA band that I wear on my wrist and I haven't taken it off since I received it. Soldier I deployed with. Specialist Justin Casillas, 'Operation Enduring Freedom'. Died July 2009, and I wear it every day as a reminder, it's not about me, it's about the guys we lost. It's the freedom that we have," said army veteran Matthew Harris.
For Vietnam veteran Jim Jones, who's father fought in World War Two, and who's son fought in 'Desert Storm', this holiday holds a different meaning at a time when much of the nation is divided.
"I just don't get it. What happened? Did we lose it? I feel like this countries been betrayed. I feel like the public school system should apologize to everybody who ever took a history class," he says.
For veterans, it's not the missed parades, activities, or even fireworks. But to remember the freedom and independence we exercise, came at a price.
“We know what we’ve worked for to wear our flag on our right shoulder. It’s our time to really appreciate our freedom. And here’s the thing. Veterans, we appreciate it every single day,” said army reservist Lucero Harris.
They ask no pat on the back, just that you remember that through our history, a few in uniform have stood up and paid for freedom.
"At the end of the day, it's not about me. It's not about what I did," Matthew says.
“We got the greatest country in the world. Don’t throw it away!,” says Jones.