By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — It is almost America’s 242nd birthday. Many Independence Day celebrations are already underway around Chicago.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reports festivities are wrapping up for the night, but will continue Wednesday.

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Thousands of sailors who fight for our country spent the day celebrating and mingling with civilians for the annual Fourth of July bash at the Naval Station Great Lakes.

“I think it’s a great way for the community to come out and do a little outreach,” said Sailor Miles Whitmore-Parr.

Amid red, white, and blue, active duty marines tended to some of the littlest patriots.

Nearby Vietnam veterans brought stories and replicas to the celebration.

Vietnam Veteran Charles Ardinger explained, “Being on the boats, we still lost a lot of people. These are the boats we ran over there and weapons we used.”

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13-year-old Dylan Swan says he finds learning about the Naval Station and the duties of the sailors very fascinating.

“It’s stuff from like back in the Navy and stuff from now-a-days,” he said.

Deerfield’s Independence Day festivities also included lessons of service. A red firetruck blended in with thousands sporting stars and stripes.

Festival attendee Jim Rubens said the celebrations are a family affair.

“It’s fun to be with my grandson and we’re celebrating America. It’s America’s birthday, right?” Rubens said.

A dazzling firework display ended the festivities for tonight.

Celebrations continue in Deerfield and at the Naval Base in Great Lakes tomorrow, July 4th, as well.

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For a list of other fireworks displays around the Chicagoland area, click here. 

Lauren Victory