The 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated around the country with traditional fireworks shows, concerts and parades; and of course, politic addresses meant to set-up next year’s presidential race.
Arguably, the largest of Independence Day festivities was held on the streets of New York City, where hundreds of thousands of attendants went by the East River to see the traditional fireworks show, which also prompted outlandish security measures due to the painting a big red target for a terrorist attack.
Over 50,000 firework shells were fired from special barges on the river during a 25 minute shows which was broadcasted live on NBC. Security measures had thousands of police officers searching the attendant’s every backpack, purse or other containers.
In the nation’s capital, President Barack Obama took to remind everyone at an address minutes before the traditional fireworks show that U.S. freedom is held with the blood of the military, many of who were among attendees at a free Bruno Mars concert in their honor on the White House South Lawn. However, bad weather led to the cancelations of the annual picnic usually held for US Army members and their families.
This year’s closeness to the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage ruling could not be overlooked: gay rights activists held a rally in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. While celebrating the ruling, many were of the opinion that the country still has a long way to go until full acceptance and embracement of social equality. The rally also marked a July 5th, 1965 small rally which turned out to be one of the first social equality protests throughout the country, during a time when homosexuality could be prosecuted.
Those hoping for a place in next year’s presidential race were present at parades in Iowa and New Hampshire, traditional starting places for the presidential race. Jeb Bush, Rick Perry and Lincoln Chaffee paraded in Armhest, Hillary Clinton was present in New Hampshire’s North Country, with Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and other hopefuls chatting up voters in Iowa.
To celebrate the foundation of a country in which many voices are becoming increasingly radical regarding the problem of immigration, naturalization ceremonies were symbolically held at a faster pace. The Baltimore district’s US Citizenship and Immigration Service had people from 27 countries become U.S. citizens by swearing the oath of allegiance, with over 4,000 people being naturalized throughout the country in the last 4 days.