After two years of no parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Niles brought its Fourth of July parade back with thousands of people showing up to celebrate.

Kids and families gathered along the curbs in main street to hear the marching bands, collect candy and enjoy the floats. Marching bands, cheerleaders, dance teams and majorettes all joined in on the celebration.

Some folks at the event told 21 News it's important to teach our kids and families that the Fourth of July is more than just fireworks and barbeques and who secured our freedoms.

One parade attendee, Kim Johnson, a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant told 21 News that the Fourth of July is a time for him to reflect on how free America is compared to the other countries.

"You don't understand [how free America is] until you travel around the world," Johnson said.