By Zack Huffman
The Fourth of July is perhaps one of the more beloved holidays in America. Just talking about the mid-summer holiday elicits smile-filled discussions about fireworks, barbecues, spending time with the family and thinking about all of the things that makes the Unites States unique.
When several local high school varsity coaches were asked, they had very little difficulty listing their favorite things about Independence Day.
"This holiday is about freedom," said Henry County Football coach Mike Rozier. "I enjoy the freedom that we have. We get to come and go as we please. I like the way our democracy works. I like everything this country is based on."
To Rozier, the Fourth of July is about more than just a celebration of the United States.
"The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays," he said. "My son was born on this day. It's just a great time for families to get together and vacation."
Vacations aside, Rozier's love for the holiday always comes back to freedom.
"I have been fortunate enough to visit other countries," said Rozier. "I'm proud to be an American. We have a lot of benefits in this country that we take for granted."
Above all, Rozier enjoys giving thanks to the Founding Fathers who fought the British and made the creation of the United States a possibility.
"Those guys did a great job. I'm glad they did it," said Rozier.
Jarrett Laws, who coached the Mt. Zion Bulldogs to last season's class AAAA football elite eight, enjoys the level of opportunity that exists in American.
"This is one of the places on Earth where if you have your mind made up to be a success you can be as successful as you want to be," he said.
In terms of patriotism, Laws believes the best way in which citizens can be patriotic is to try their hardest to be successful.
"I think everybody has an individual duty in our country to fulfill the maximum ability of their potential," he said. "The best you can do for your country is to be the best that you can be."
He also mentioned that this belief includes the contribution soldiers make to the country.
Recently, Laws was moved at the support, which was shown within his community in McDonough, when a town native, Staff Sgt. John Bill gave his life over sees.
"There's been a lot of outreach and signs. There's a whole bunch of support to his memory and his family," said Laws. "The average person cannot always say they are willing to lay down their life for a concept that does not necessarily directly involve their family. That's something you have to respect."
Years before she became head girls' basketball and volleyball coach at Dutchtown High School, Angela Williams served in the military as a helicopter pilot.
"I got the chance to serve my country in the military as a pilot," she said. "It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life."
According to Williams she most values the opportunities people in America have to pursue any dream they wish.
"This is a country where you can be anything you want to be," she said. "I think to be patriotic is to find whatever it is you want to do in life and be the best you can be at it to make society a better place."
In one word, Jimmy Fields enjoys "Freedom."
"We have the freedom to do anything that we want to do," said Field, who coached Jonesboro High School's girls' varsity basketball team to the class-AAAA Final Four last season. "We can coach basketball, barbecue and celebrate the Fourth of July."
As much as he enjoys freedom, he was quick to include his thankfulness towards the men and women who serve in the US military.
"I just thank the people who serve in other countries," he said. "the only reason we have to celebrate is the people who gave their lives before us."
According to Fields, being a patriot entails being a "good, loyal citizen" and involves "doing the right thing and having good character."