KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A lot of people associate Fourth of July with fireworks, food and festivals, but for North Kansas City resident Charles Erickson, the holiday serves as a special reminder of his family's lineage.
President Thomas Jefferson, one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence, was Erickson's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather. Erickson learned he was related to Jefferson when he was 28-years-old, having grown up all his life in North Kansas City without knowing his bloodline carried so much fame.
Independence Day chokes him up every year, thinking about our country's founding fathers and the impact his relatives had on our freedom.
"The fact that we won our independence and won the revolutionary war is just amazing," he said. It took an act of providence in a lot of ways for us to have done what we did", he explained wiping back a tear. "I'll be thinking back to what those guys did in Philadelphia Thursday and the impact it's made on the world."
Erickson explained that he's proud of his heritage every day but particularly on Independence Day when he's watching the fireworks.
"In fact I have told people 'Welcome to our holiday, we'll share it with you,'" he said with a chuckle.