Americans marked the 242nd anniversary of the split from Britain on July 4th with the customary day full of picnics, parades and fireworks displays across the country.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted a greeting to the American people while also announcing “Our country is doing GREAT!” He then spent his morning playing a round of golf at his private club in Northern Virginia.
Later Wednesday, he praised the U.S. military for keeping America “safe, strong, proud, mighty and free” while addressing hundreds of military families attending a picnic at the White House.
“America’s liberty has been earned through the blood, sweat and sacrifice of American patriots,” he said.
Around the US
In Boston Harbor, the world’s oldest commissioned warship, the USS Constitution, marked the day with a 21-gun salute.
In New York, visitors to the iconic symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty were evacuated after a protester climbed the base and refused to come down. Police officers arrested her after a four-hour standoff. Police said Therese Okoumou said she was protesting the separation of children and parents who enter the United States illegally.
Earlier in the day, seven other people were arrested after hanging a banner from the statue’s pedestal that called for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
On a lighter note, reigning champions Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo held on to their titles at the annual hot dog eating championships on Coney Island. Chestnut beat his own record to eat 74 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes while Sudo continued her reign by downing 37.
Reading of the Declaration
In the nation’s capital, the July 4th holiday included a traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the National Archives. Inside the building, the original document is prominently displayed along with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for the public to see.
Shortly after the reading, a parade attended by thousands of people began in front of the building on Constitution Avenue, ending just after passing between the White House and a monument to the first U.S. president, George Washington.
Later in the day, the 38th annual A Capitol Fourth kicked off with a concert featuring performances by The Beach Boys, Chita Rivera, Andy Grammer, The Temptations, CeCe Winans and the National Symphony Orchestra, among others on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The show culminated with fireworks over the National Mall.
For the first time, a rival event was held at the same time on the South Lawn of the White House featuring country singer Sara Evans, Russian-born classical pianist Lola Astanova and others.