COLUMBIA — Sunlight peaked through the cloud-littered sky, reflecting off puddles on the playground at Rock Quarry Park on Saturday afternoon. A few yards away under the canopy of the small shelter area, the Reddick family and friends munched on baked beans and cucumber salad.
For this laughing and snacking group of nearly 30 people, the Fourth of July symbolizes more than just a time for food and fireworks.
"It's a time when we can get together to recognize the people who dedicated their lives to this country," said Troy Reddick, who served in the military himself.
For the Reddick family, which has more than 30 years of combined military service, holidays such as this represent a chance to cherish what time they have together.
"People in the military that are in other countries, and even some who aren't, can't be with their families in a lot of cases," Reddick said. "Not everybody recognizes that there are a lot of family members that won't be coming home."
The Reddick family has been meeting to celebrate the Fourth of July for six or seven years, Kecia Reddick said. They also have a running nine-year tradition of spending Christmas at Truman Veterans Hospital.