Patriotism on Display

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July 4 apparently has more significance for elected officials, celebrities, as well as the general public. Many visited the Smithsonian Exhibit on display in Meridian at the old REA Building on Front Street, next to Union Station.

The exhibition, which is free, officially opened July 4 in the R.E.A. building next to Union Station. What is the true meaning of July Fourth? We asked guests at the exhibit to share what the holiday means to them.

"Freedom, religion," said Rep. Ronnie Shows. "The right to be here today. One reason, Osama bin Laden can't be here is because of places like Meridian, what the people are doing today, they know how hard it was to get this freedom and we're not going to let it go."

"I recognize that every day I get up it's because people who came before me were willing to go fight and many of which gave their lives,"
said Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. "I recognize that that enables me and all of us to do what we do today."

"You know, in Hollywood, we can make the world anything we want it but in the real world, the United States is a beacon for the rest of the world," said actress Sela Ward. "It's a real strong, solidified country and very patriotic country and to celebrate Independence Day is a wonderful thing."

"Well, it's an opportunity to celebrate our freedom and independence as a nation," said Senator Thad Cochran. "We have a wonderful life given to us, our forefathers and our brothers who stengthened our country to the point where we can defend ourselves and be the most powerful nation in the world now; a force for liberty and freedom around the world."

"The Fourth of July reminds me that we haven't forgotten lessons that my father and mother and grandmother taught me and that is you have to give back to this country and this community for you to be able to pass on something whole and real to your children and grandchildren,"
said Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith.

"It means that we are celebrating our independence and that's one of the things that you have to really be able to appreciate and that is our independence," said State Rep. Charles Young. "We can't afford to lose our freedom."

The Smithsonian "Produce for Victory" posters can be seen Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m.
to 6 p.m. The display is open through August.