DENVER (CBS4) – For Bayasa Bat-Itgel, a permanent U.S. resident born in Mongolia, freedom rings with a different perspective but still as loudly.
“I was transplanted here,” said Bat-Itgel, 18, who moved to the United States with her family when she was 5. “I had the privilege of having a family who came here. I am definitely more appreciative and a little bit more objective. I wouldn’t say I’m naturally as patriotic (as some who were born here), but I definitely have a great appreciation for the States. I’m very grateful to be here.”
She attended the Independence Eve festivities at Civic Center Park on Thursday with her family.
Bat-Itgel said what draws her most to America is the “spirit of excitement” here: “There is nothing necessarily limiting you. There is an open land of opportunity. As cliché as that is, people take that opportunity to heart.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Independence Eve
Attendees like Bat-Itgel talked with CBS4 not just about why they flocked to Civic Center Park on Thursday (hint: nearly everyone said “fireworks”) but what American and patriotic values they hold close. Here are some of their responses:
“It represents some of the best thoughts and best hopes of western civilization, individual freedom, societal responsibility, and a lot of good things, the best in the world,” Art Staliwe of Lakewood said. “Individual liberties, many of them enshrined in the Bill of Rights, are something that are very difficult to acquire in other lands.”
“It’s individual liberties. The ability to be free and to do the things you want to do and to not worry too much about people coming down on you for being the wrong religion,” Richard Kuverski of Arvada said.
“I started coming with friends. This is the third I’ve attended with them, and it’s become a special annual tradition,” Anne Grasee of Lakewood said. “For me, most importantly, it’s the freedom of religion and opportunity to purse individual desires.”
Here are remarks from Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, the executive director of the Civic Center Conservancy, and Brad Holly, a vice president at Anadarko, a sponsor of Independence Eve.
– Written by Tim Skillern for CBSDenver.com