During this day of celebration, many in East Tennessee pause to thank our military for their sacrifices.
A group of original Tuskegee Airmen and marines spent the day like most of you, barbecuing by the pool. But they say Independence Day is about more than that to them.
"It's about a whole lot more than cooking hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken," said Sgt. Major Steven Teague.
Both active and reserve marines volunteered to cook for those who fought before them at Kingwood Inn in Gatlinburg for the holiday.
Five original Tuskegee airmen, a group of African Americans who fought in World War II, were the guests of honor.
"We fought to save America and that's why we have these great celebrations," said Tuskegee Airman Frank Weaver.
In their 80s and 90s now, the WWII vets say the Fourth means more now than ever.
"It will make tears come to your eyes to think about how America is treating us now," said Weaver.
"It's really important to me because it's an opportunity to teach the children. And there are so many here and they're interested to know what happened. Those of us that are left are so happy to share it with them," said Irma Dryden, a nurse for the Tuskegee Airmen.
The definition of freedom has also evolved for Marine Delta company's Staff Sgt. Christopher Benfield.
"There's no way to describe it unless you've been somewhere else and you've experienced life outside of our borders. We live in the greatest country in the world and we can't ever take that for granted," said Benfield.
After 10 years and three combat tours, "you've seen the sacrifices that it takes to keep us free. You've seen your brothers die and those who haven't come back."
He says it makes you appreciate celebrations at home even more.
The Tuskegee Airmen and marines were the grand marshals of the Gatlinburg 4th of July parade.