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How did you spend your Independence Day?

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The Fourth of July in Savannah and surrounding counties is amazingly patriotic.

There are multiple fireworks displays, neighborhood reunions, watermelon eating contests, road races and the rivers and beaches are so crowded that there's hardly an empty piece of sand to lay on.

Hundreds took to the waterways with marine patrol out in full force to keep everyone safe.

Many reported waiting in traffic up to an hour just to find parking at Tybee Island beach, while others played it smart and shelled out the money for a condo, packing as many friends and relatives as would fit in three rooms. It was a very prosperous weekend for retailers as well with poor grocery store workers and retail shops having to work long hours while their better jobbed peers enjoyed a three day weekend that doesn't seem to come often enough in this work-a-holic world of America.

We asked a series of people how they spent their Fourth of July weekend. Many, who were in the armed services placed flags in their front yards or even carried them in parades and made sure their children knew about the meaning of the holiday.

One British man took part in a watermelon run and had no qualms about his fellow runners celebrating their independence from his homeland so many long years ago.

Over three quarters of those surveyed said they were planning on eating watermelon, cooking out on the grill and spending time at the pool or beach.

The only people out shopping were those who needed supplies for the cookout or to get some yard work done. Everyone was planning on spending time with friends or family or both.

One woman in her mid twenties said that she had no family in town, but decided to show up for a fun run at a local park and was invited to two events! She said she was seriously thinking about going to one.

Over half planned to watch fireworks and a handful said they planned to host a fireworks display and BBQ at their homes.

Many planned on consuming alcohol to celebrate. A few wanted to celebrate but did not want to get out on the roads or leave their pets at home for fear the thundering fireworks would scare them.

The top three things to do on the Fourth were eat, drink and get out on the water, followed by shooting off fireworks, relaxing with friends and grilling on the BBQ.

Few businesses were closed for the holiday and of those that were, many people were shocked to not see them open and wondered why they would close for a "such a minor holiday", which made older adults and veterans shake their heads in disbelief and post countless numbers of references to the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to remind younger, less military oriented families how important it was that America won its freedom and how continued important it is to keep that freedom alive.

Tybee Island held their fireworks display on the 3rd to avoid competing with River Street on the 4th. Those living on or near the water were treated to fireworks all around, with folks on the Vernon River competing on the Whitefield and Whitebluff sides to see whose fireworks were biggest and loudest.

Even on the fifth there were still people shooting off fireworks and hosting parties, but by Sunday, the celebration was relegated to women and men in red, white and blue outfits attending church and memorial celebrations with patriotic music.

Runners woke up early to compete in races across the counties with nearly 150 people showing up at Lake Mayer to run in mass toward scenic Bluff Drive on Isle of Hope. Fleet Feet Sports provided watermelon upon return to the lake as well as free water bottles and T-shirts and electrolyte tablets.

In Rincon they hosted a patriotic parade.

The rain held off on the fourth, but on the fifth, after a group of young teenagers were finishing off the last of their bottle rockets, mother nature set off a few fireworks of her own with a huge storm that turned the skies over Tybee pitch black around seven that evening with a lightening display that put all previous fireworks displays to shame, reminding everyone that no matter how powerful nations are, there is always someone up above that has the most power over all.

God Bless America and the people of all nations and may all governments remember that their primary job is to protect the people, provide needed services and educational opportunities to promote intelligent growth and to encourage its members to remain civil beings and provide a safe environment where freedom is not a dream, but a reality for all who are willing to do their part to keep their country free with respect to the rights of others.

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