Leading the 4th of July Parade

Leading the 4th of July Parade

Independence Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love celebrating my freedom with patriotic songs, red, white and blue attire, and traditional American foods like hot dogs and hamburgers. July 4th in Washington D.C. is an incredible experience in itself - watching the fireworks burst behind the Washington Monument is an event like no other. In addition to the traditional D.C. Independence Day festivities, I also participated in an unexpected opportunity unique to many Washingtonians. I had the chance to carry the opening banner in the National Independence Day Parade.


On the morning of July 4th, I woke up early to volunteer at the National Independence Day Parade. I have always been very passionate about serving the community, so I thought, “What better way to spend my 4th of July than by giving back to our nation’s capital?” I walked to the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street to check in at the volunteer tent. I expected to be tasked with handing out water bottles, giving directions to spectators, or cleaning up confetti after the parade. Little did I know that I would be asked to carry the opening banner in the National Independence Day Parade in front of thousands of people.



When the parade began at 11:45 a.m., I carried the opening banner down Constitution Avenue listening to the sound of “America the Beautiful” playing softly in the distance. Thousands of spectators lined the streets waving American flags and sang along to the patriotic anthems resonating throughout the Mall. Though the mid-morning heat beating down during our mile-long walk seemed unbearable at times, I was taken aback by the immense patriotism of the crowd, and I had never been more proud to be an American.



Walking in the National Independence Day Parade is one of my most memorable experiences in Washington D.C. thus far. It just goes to show that taking advantage of opportunities in our nation’s capital can lead to unexpected experiences and lifelong memories.


Thomas Jefferson said it best: “If you want something that you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”


Ciao for now,

Emily Pingleton


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