Local Soldier Reflects on Independence Day

What does this day really mean to you or to a soldier recently home from active duty?

SSGT Anthony Graham knows that the Fourth of July means more than fireworks. As an American soldier, he's reminded of those who fought for the freedom of the United States.

"Independence Day means a lot of our forefathers went off and did a lot of great things for us and sacrifice for us to have peace in this nation. I'm just following their footsteps,” he says.

Graham has recently returned home after spending 19 months fighting in Iraq.

While serving in Iraq, SSGT Graham has missed one of his son's birthdays, two of his daughter's and even two of his own, but today a family cookout is allowing him to celebrate the nation's birthday.

Leola Copland, Anthony Graham's mother, says, "Truly, I feel good this morning having my son home with the family. I just thank God for bringing him back home."

So yes, Graham knows about how America was declared independent in 1776, but as you can see, this day is also a special day to spend time with his family, which he has not been able to do for the last two July Fourths.

Anthony adds, "It's good to be here; just being around your loved ones, you tend to miss those people a lot. I'm home, enjoying home, freedom and everything."

He says while he treasures the time he has with his family, he continuously prays for the American soldiers who are still in Iraq longing to be with theirs.