The 4th of July is a Federal Holiday families celebrate across the country. The last time I celebrated the 4th of July in a happy manner was in 2009. The year after, July 4, 2010, I lost my uncle Bruno Gonzalez who was hit by a drunk driver. My uncle who had been out with his friend were both killed on the 4th of July. Since 2010 Independence Day has been a tough time for all of my family. My uncle Bruno Gonzalez was a man who will always be remembered by a lot of people. He helped out a couple of organizations for years before he passed away. He even had us (his nieces and nephew) volunteer to help out. He first helped out United Way for a while and then landed a gig at the American Heart Association. When my uncle Bruno was around he always had so many funny stories to share about all sorts of people he met.

After he passed away, making funeral arrangements caused a lot of tension in the family. Normally setting up funeral services Catholic families hold a rosary service the day before the burial. I never knew how much my uncle was loved until the day of his services. Most people hold the rosary services at a funeral home for people to pay their condolences. We had to hold Bruno's rosary at St. Raphael Catholic Church. The church was packed with tons of people who knew my uncle and had stories of their own. It was bittersweet to see a few places honor my uncle by hanging up his picture at their business. The places that have his photo up on their walls are at The Pershing Inn and Hooters. For about a week L&J Cafe also honored my uncle with their sign posted outside their restaurant.

So the 4th of July to me is being thankful for those who fought for our country's Independence and remembering my uncle. Tomorrow marks 10 years that my uncle has departed from us. The 4th of July is always a tough time for my family and his friends who miss him, his stories, and his kindness. I shared some photos below of how much my uncle Bruno Gonzalez made an impact on some people in El Paso. I am sure there are other people who also celebrate our country's Independence and mourn loved ones they have lost.

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