As Independence Day approaches, I sat down with local residents who lived through some of America’s most historic moments.
In the final interviews of the series, hear from these deep-rooted citizens from and what being an American means to them.
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: What does being an American mean to you?
Joyce Swanson: Well most of the men were in the military when I was a child and my father was one step away from being drafted when World War II ended. I’m grateful for what I have seen and the memories I have.
Alfred Swanson: Anybody in America that wants to work hard and learn what they can, they can do anything. I don’t know of any country that can do that better. Individual independence—work hard, learn things, make your own way and not depend on the government or anybody.
Patch: What historical event defines your experiences as an American?
Joyce Swanson: Probably the day that World War II ended. I was out in the yard and I ran to tell my parents. I heard on the radio. There was so much, emotions, gratitude, relief … I think I cried.
Alfred Swanson: I spent three years in Korea (he was 20). It made me see how much independence we had. How well America is, I was supposed to be in Korea but physically I was working out of Okinawa, and to watch other people live there, the freedom was no comparison.
Patch: When you think of Independence Day, what emotions come to mind?
Joyce Swanson: Gratitude and hope. I expect to live a long life and a secure life. I think we lived in the best of times.
Alfred Swanson: Thank God for independence, thank God there was no war on our homeland. We lived in the best times.
What does being an American mean to you? Tell me in the comments.