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First Generation Americans Celebrate Independence Day

SOLON, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- The beach at Lake MacBride State Park was a hot spot for families all day on the Fourth of July, including those Americans who weren't born here.

"We have to be happy that we are in America," said Diana Mendez.

Mendez and her family spent the day grilling and relaxing.

"We get happy are we are like, all together," she said.

Jorge Bertran and his family were doing the same thing. Bertran was born in Uruguay, but lives in Minnesota now. He's visiting his sister who lives in West Branch, and they even have family in from Uruguay.

"We love this country, and we celebrate and we make everything here like the American people. It's the same. We really love this country," Bertran said.

And like so many Americans, their lives are centered around family. Bertran said it gives his life meaning; his nephew Nicholas Sosa feels the same way.

"Your family is important to you, and whoever's important to you, you have to care of," Sosa said.

The Hispanic and Latino population in Iowa has grown by more than 60,000 people in the last 10 years, and it is only projected to keep growing. Bertran and his family said, the reason is pretty universal.

"Yes," he said. "It's freedom."
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