PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Whether it be barbecuing or lighting fireworks, the 4th of July is a celebration for family and friends.
For military families, it's different especially when a loved one is at war.
It's been that way for a Port St. Lucie family for years.
Nine-year-old Kira and her brother Jordan are used spending the 4th of July with their mom, Kimberly.
"We like to light up the night with all these different fireworks and it's so much fun," Kira Miranda said.
Last year, they added one-year-old Cameron to their playful platoon, but their little army of four was missing staff Sgt. Dad.
"We would just do the fireworks and then the next day he would say happy 4th of July," Kira said.
This year, Staff Sgt. Freddie Miranda is saying 'Happy 4th of July' in person.
It's the first time he's done so in two years. The past two he's been fighting in Afghanistan.
"I've been really happy that he's finally home," Kira smiled.
"It's a blessing to actually be home and actually make it back in one piece," Staff Sgt. Miranda said.
His wife Kimberly is especially happy.
"I can tell you for a fact that I'm afraid of fire," she laughed. "I don't like doing fireworks so it's not been good having to be the one to do them so I'm glad that I don't have to light them this year."
All jokes aside, the dangers of war give a new meaning to this Independence Day for the military family.
"It's not just happy 4th of July and who cares," Kimberly said. "It's my husband fought for this."
Two tours of fighting alongside many who are still not home on this holiday.
"To me it doesn't seem fair that they're there and I'm here," Staff Sgt. Miranda said.
"I just appreciate and thank everyone of you that are not able to spend it with your family because I know how it is," Kimberly said.
A tough experience, but one that makes tonight and every holiday celebration so special.
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