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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.