Fourth of July in Griffith, Ind.

July 4, 2008 4:08:33 PM PDT
On Independence Day people often put their political differences aside to celebrate the nation's heritage. But with war and a tough economy, the holiday is taking on a new meaning for some.There is great community pride in Griffith, Indiana - a town where the Dutch came to farm - where railroads led to growth and where a moose watches over the main drag. It is said that if you're born and raised in Griffith, the odds are pretty strong that you'll stay here.

"All my family's here. I grew up here. I know everybody," said Jennifer McKeever, Griffith resident.

There is also strong national pride in this community, but as people here celebrate the nation's birthday, they're not without concerns for the future. They worry about a wounded economy, ever higher gas prices, and whether energy independence has a true commitment.

"I drive for a living and I own my own company. That makes it real hard you know," said Jason Klee.

"Too many jobs have left the area. I hope that changes," said Dawn Tsirtsis, Griffith resident

"Unfortunately, we're seeing more and more hungry people across the U-S, and quite frankly that scares the devil out of me," said Mary Johnson, Griffith Resident, who devotes much of her time to feeding the homeless.

Jennifer McKeever devotes much of her time to her new son.

"Before I had him I wasn't as worried. Now that I've had him everything is sky high, and it scares me for our future. What if we can't send him to college," said McKeever.

That is certainly a question many parents have asked even in healthier economic times.

Griffith takes great pride in those who chosen to serve in the military, and like other towns, it is not immune from the reality of war. Duane Rios died in Iraq April 4th, 2003. John Amos died exactly one year later. Jill Klee went through school with Rios.

"It was a loss to the town, a loss to friends. The whole town was torn apart you know - a lost hero of our own," said Jill Klee.

"I don't see a clear cut end to the war in Iraq even with a new President. I don't know how he's gonna have a quick resolve to that," said Ed McKeever, Griffith Resident.

The concerns are many and run deep, but on this day of celebration, the people of Griffith are grounded in a basic.

"We have freedom here. Freedom that so many others don't have," said Brenda Studniarz, Griffith Resident.


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