SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco hosts a large fireworks show that draws people from all over the Bay Area and from around the country each year.
Fog was a concern this year as it often is, and it was chilly, but large crowds still came to the waterfront to see the show.
It lasted more than 20 minutes, accompanied by music, and at one point there were excerpts from speeches by President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. "This has special meaning since I was military. This is our country's birthday," said Stacey Crosby, who tells KTVU he's a U.S. Army veteran.
Crosby says on this day, he's remembering all his brothers and sisters in the armed forces, "This is what we're protecting...our freedom to do this...what everybody is doing. This is just a special day."
Others say this day is also a time for reflection.
Recent terrorist attacks in Orlando and other parts of the world are on many minds. It means celebrating American history and all we've accomplished over the years. This past year, there's been some hard times. We have to push through it," said Raven Crosby of Roseville.
Some say they travelled to San Francisco for the first time to celebrate what this country stands for - diversity.
We've heard a lot about it. lt's interesting - the culture and everything out here. We've never been out to California," said Mike Cheney from Council Bluff, Iowa.
There was live music to accompany people's gratitude for their freedom on this 4th of July. "Just being here is amazing. Being here with my friends and being able to enjoy with all these people," said Ernesto Duran, who's visiting from Fresno.
"I've been kind of nervous in crowds," said Holly Pepper of San Francisco. She tells KTVU she and her family were at the Boston Marathon when it was attacked by terrorists three years ago.
The Peppers say they're unsettled by the experience but refuse to let that prevent them from having their 3.5-year-old son celebrate July 4th the traditional way.
"I just love him experiencing fireworks as I did when I was growing up. We always went out as a family, had our picnics and enjoyed the fireworks show," said Pepper.
Along the waterfront, there was a large security presence: U.S. Park Police, San Francisco Police and private security.
Many people tell KTVU they thought twice before attending this event. But in the end, they said they need to live life and chose not to live in fear.