Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS Bright fireworks lit up the sky on both sides of the river in New Orleans Friday night. With dueling barges shooting dozens of fireworks, it was easy to see why this display is ranked among the top five in the country.

Stephen Alltop staked out his spot on the Algiers levee almost 12 hours before the big spectacle.

'It's been a blast,' he said. 'It's all about family and friends. This year we had twice as many people show up as we did last year. It's just been excitement, fun, camaraderie and family for us.'

And, of course, many people were using the grill, but most realized that the Fourth of July is about much more than fireworks and food.

'Our freedom, independence, being able to do things here in America that other countries can't do,' said Daniel Belsome, who lives on the west bank.

The day holds even more meaning for those who serve in the military and their families.

'I'm celebrating my husband's return home from Afghanistan,' said Dana Christian. 'We really wanted a nice and great environment to enjoy the fireworks.'

'It's nice to know I'm serving the country and doing what my forefathers did before me,' said Daniel Johnson. 'My dad was in the Navy, my grandfather was in the Army, Vietnam, and I'm happy to serve.'

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