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The Declaration: What Does Independence Mean To You?

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Maryam Saif, Austin, Texas; Michael Dubberly, Savannah, Ga.; Nadine Pourier-Blumenshine, Fresno, Calif. Row 2: Timothy Jon Eaton, Kingsport, Tenn.; Kara Milton, Greensboro, N.C.; Thomas Horsley, Boston.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Dixie Blumenshine, Fresno, Calif.; Cameron Milton, Greensboro, N.C.; James O'Halloran, Scotland, U.K. Row 2: Allyssa Warner, Hyrum, Utah; Dallam Masterson, Houston; Melinda Burke, Warner Robins, Ga.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Rocco DiCicco, Fresno, Calif.; Nelsy Rodriguez, Boyaca, Colombia; Gary Combs, Kingsport, Tenn. Row 2: Susan Bennett Eaton, Gray, Tenn.; Clint Morgan, Campwood, Texas; Kimberley Stewart, Menlo Park, Calif.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Corey Armstrong, Louisville, Ky.; Charmaine Martin, Trinidad and Tobago; Joseph Smith, Alexandria, Va.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Stewart Merriam, Logan, Utah; Darwin Danks, Watertown, N.Y.; Emaan Khan, Austin, Texas. Row 2: Mildred Cobbinah, Kansas City, Mo.; Jean Hebert, Chippewa Falls, Wis.; Ted Cai of Houston.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Kevin Yarn, Durham, N.C.; Jeanne Greenwald, Kansas City, Mo.; Steven Lee, New York. Row 2: Marcia Hayes, Marshfield, Mass.; John McAvoy, Taylorville, Ill.; Isabel Gomez-Rengifo, Cali, Colombia.

Photo by Erica Yoon

Kara, Michael, Mikaila and Cameron Milton of Greensboro, N.C., pose for a portrait near the Lincoln Memorial on June 21, after reading the Declaration of Independence for

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Maryam Saif, Austin, Texas; Michael Dubberly, Savannah, Ga.; Nadine Pourier-Blumenshine, Fresno, Calif. Row 2: Timothy Jon Eaton, Kingsport, Tenn.; Kara Milton, Greensboro, N.C.; Thomas Horsley, Boston.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Dixie Blumenshine, Fresno, Calif.; Cameron Milton, Greensboro, N.C.; James O'Halloran, Scotland, U.K. Row 2: Allyssa Warner, Hyrum, Utah; Dallam Masterson, Houston; Melinda Burke, Warner Robins, Ga.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Rocco DiCicco, Fresno, Calif.; Nelsy Rodriguez, Boyaca, Colombia; Gary Combs, Kingsport, Tenn. Row 2: Susan Bennett Eaton, Gray, Tenn.; Clint Morgan, Campwood, Texas; Kimberley Stewart, Menlo Park, Calif.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Corey Armstrong, Louisville, Ky.; Charmaine Martin, Trinidad and Tobago; Joseph Smith, Alexandria, Va.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Stewart Merriam, Logan, Utah; Darwin Danks, Watertown, N.Y.; Emaan Khan, Austin, Texas. Row 2: Mildred Cobbinah, Kansas City, Mo.; Jean Hebert, Chippewa Falls, Wis.; Ted Cai of Houston.

Photo by Hayley Bartels, Rebecca Sell, Erica Yoon

Row 1: Kevin Yarn, Durham, N.C.; Jeanne Greenwald, Kansas City, Mo.; Steven Lee, New York. Row 2: Marcia Hayes, Marshfield, Mass.; John McAvoy, Taylorville, Ill.; Isabel Gomez-Rengifo, Cali, Colombia.

Photo by Erica Yoon

Kara, Michael, Mikaila and Cameron Milton of Greensboro, N.C., pose for a portrait near the Lincoln Memorial on June 21, after reading the Declaration of Independence for

Audio

We often celebrate Independence Day with backyard barbecues and fireworks, forgetting the document that started this whole country: the Declaration of Independence.

For the past 20 years Morning Edition has asked NPR hosts and reporters to read the document on the Fourth, as a reminder of our country's history. This year, we decided to ask visitors at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to give it a try.

After our readers familiarized themselves with the Declaration, we asked what independence meant to them. Many started with broad statements, but then gradually talked about freedoms that were the most important to them.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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