It was first full day some residents in the highly affected Colorado Springs neighborhood got to return home since the Waldo Canyon Fire started 10 days ago. Approximately 346 homes were lost in the fire. Most were in Mountain Shadows subdivision.
"It's Independence Day, and we are free from that fire," Mountain Shadows resident Janet Walker said.
Walker's home is still standing after the fire came as close as her back yard. She and her husband decided to fly their flag along with many of their neighbors.
"Today's the first day we've put it up since we've been home," she said. "We just got home last night."
As utility workers re-lit pilot lights and turned water back on around them, many other residents reflected on why they flew flags.
"At the very least, flying a flag is something that has to happen," said Grady Mitchell, a U.S. Marine.
The fire came up to Mitchell's foundation.
"Everybody that lent a hand during this fire... are exactly what made this country... great, and exactly what needs to be celebrated today," Mitchell said.
"It's always present," P.J. McEnroe said of the U.S. flag. "No matter if that building behind me is still there, that structure, that home, it's still there."
"We're still here," said Mitchell. "We're still here. This is our home. This is our place. This is our country still."
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)