By Victoria Cuba, Darius Kila and Pono Suganuma
HNN Summer Interns
KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of people dressed in red, white and blue lined Kailua sidewalks to celebrate America's birthday.
Waving flags of all sorts, the annual Independence Day parade on Kainalu Drive was nearly two hours long and featured more than 80 different organizations. Governor David Ige, Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Colleen Hanabusa and other Hawai'i congressional members also joined in on the festivities.
"I know a lot of people in the parade," said Kailua resident Libby Tomar, who has watched the parade with her children for the past 25 years. "They know us and wave to us and say our name. It's such a great way to celebrate the fourth of July."
Allan Silva has watched the parade every year since he was a little boy. His house, which was built by his grandfather, sits along the parade's pathway and serves as a gathering place for his family.
"We live in different places now, but we always gather here every fourth of July," Silva said.
Like other parade watchers, Silva said although the parade is a good chance to celebrate U.S. independence with family and friends, it also means so much more.
"Basically, this whole parade is about the ha, the breath of life and aloha," Silva said.
Hugh Jones has been living in his Kailua home for the past 16 years and has hosted an Independence Day party ever since. Jones said about 150 people filled his home and yard. Patriotic decorations hung alongside a water slide for the keiki in the backyard.
"And the party gets bigger and bigger every year," Jones said. "There's friends, family, neighbors and new friends."
As a lawyer, Jones believes in protecting the freedom and independence of each citizen, making the parade celebration special for Kailua and America.
"I also believe you need to celebrate Hawai'i as a diverse state," said Hugh Jones, whose house was draped with American flags. "And it's when people come together and share one thing in common, which is the love of America, the love of each other and the love of our freedom."
Like Jones and the others, many have watching the parade for years, while others are seeing it for the first time.
Today's holiday is special to Missouri native Jacob Studt, who celebrates two of his grandparents who served in the military.
"It is more than the fourth of July," said Studt, who is visiting family in Hawaii. "It's a celebration of togetherness and all of us realizing we are in this together and no matter your political views, that we are all family."