Nowhere I Would Rather Be

Nowhere I Would Rather Be

Many cities across the globe are known for the celebrations that they hold for particular holidays. Some examples would include New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Paris for Fashion Week, and New York for New Years. But on the Fourth of July, there is no more appropriate place to celebrate Independence Day than in Washington, D.C. As the masses began to line the streets of Constitution Avenue on the Friday morning to see the National Independence Day Parade, I knew that I was in the perfect city for the celebration.

 

Disclaimer

 

Being the only Federal Holiday to occur during my summer here in D.C., myself and other interns had been talking about our plans to celebrate the Fourth of July since arriving. Many of the locals leave the city. They warned us that the metro can become out of control, the heat can be exhausting, and the tourists… well the tourists will be “tourists.” It was with those reservations that several locals told me, “but you have got to experience Fourth of July at some point on the National Mall in Washington D.C.”

 

Parade

 

An inflatable American flag passing near me during the National Independence Day Parade

 

Fourth of July weekend is the only three day weekend that I will have this summer. Although I would like to say that I was up at the crack of dawn dressing in exclusively stars and stripes and applying sunscreen, in fact, I used the opportunity to sleep in and get some much needed rest. Lucky for me, the parade didn’t begin until 11:45 a.m. Arriving at about that time, it was nearly impossible for Jake and I to find a location to see the parade as it passed. The sidewalks were filled to the brim with people. All of the steps to the buildings along Constitution Avenue were packed like bleachers at a high school basketball game. Trying to move up or down the sidewalk to find a place was nearly impossible as well. Once we finally found a sidewalk planter to perch on, the parade was quite enjoyable. Although not the Macy’s Day Parade by any means, it was very patriotic and set in the perfect location.

 

Concert and Fireworks

 

One of the many fireworks exploding behind the Washington Monument during the sunset on the Fourth of July

 

Although I did not personally get to attend, there was a concert - The Capital Fourth - on the West Lawn of the Capital Building. The performers included Jordan Sparks, Phillip Phillips, Patti Labelle and many others. I could see the stage from the spot on the National Mall where I was set up to watch the fireworks. With the Capital Building to my back and the Washington Monument in front of me, the sun finally set and it was time to bring out some lights of our own. As the fireworks began to explode in the sky between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, everyone cheered and took out their phones to take pictures and videos.

 

It was incredible to see the lights of thousands of phones across the National Mall. That was nowhere comparable to the sight of the fireworks that set the backdrop to the Washington Monument. Some of the most unique fireworks that I saw included a red stars and “USA” spelled out in the sky. Later that night when I laid down to go to sleep, I could hear fireworks going off all over the city at residential parties and BBQ's. Quite honestly, all the booms and cracks sounded like a war zone.

 

Even though now we celebrate the Fourth of July with parties, parades, and fireworks, I took that moment before bed and tried to really consider what it must have been like to be in the city during the burning of Washington – or any particularly relevant time in American history. As the capital of the United States, Washington D.C. is symbolic of all government action – be it a law, a war, or an election. I am so very much enjoying my opportunity to spend my summer here and learn more about this city and what is done here. I am sure from this year on I will always compare my festivities on the Fourth of July with the ones I partook in this year in Washington, D.C.

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