It was a quintessential Fourth of July Sunday, with sunny, hot weather and large crowds packing beaches and parks.

But amid the picnics, ballgames, tanning, boating and gathering for evening fireworks, some Long Islanders and visitors lamented that many seem to have forgotten that the Fourth of July is also Independence Day. They wished more people would see it as a day to celebrate liberty and patriotism while thinking of those fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq rather than simply as a day off to party.

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