In D.C., a More Traditional Independence Day (photos)


Countless thousands again descended on Washington, D.C., on July 4 under clear skies to celebrate the 246th anniversary of our nation’s independence. And it felt more like the typical Fourth of July that we have become used to.

The National Independence Day Parade returned to Constitution Ave after a three year hiatus due to the pandemic, featuring military units, marching bands, floats and helium balloons.

Immigrants and their children have played important roles in the development of culture and art in twenty-first century America and this was reflected in the participation of parade units of Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese and Sikh Americans. To this year’s parade was added a contingent of Ukrainian-Americans expressing thanks for American support in the stuggle for thier homeland. 

Visitors were treated to an early morning performance at the National Archives steps by the 3rd U.S. Infantry “The Old Guard” Fife and Drum Corps, followed by a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by “Abigail and John Adams,” “Ben Franklin,” “John Hancock,” “Thomas Jefferson” and “George Washington.”

A few blocks away, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall spotlighted the culture of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a program featuring the Earth Optimism Initiative offering a more positive spin about human habitation on our planet.

Toward evening, the PBS “A Capitol Fourth” live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol presented all-star musical performances. (Last year’s concert was virtual.)

The day came to a fitting conclusion with the traditional fireworks display to an enthusiastic crowd that packed the National Mall.

View a slideshow of Jeff Malet’s photos of Independence Day in Washington D.C. by clicking on the photo icons below.

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