Independence Day is a significant day for Americans. On July 4, 1776—almost 242 years ago—the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and the United States of America was formed. Not only are its patriotic citizens proud of their country, but newly settled immigrants feel immensely blessed to enjoy the privileges of living in this great nation.
Every year, people of all ethnic backgrounds across the United States celebrate freedom, independence, and of simply being American on this special day.
Dubbed a nation of immigrants, the United States saw 15,000 new Americans sworn in on Independence Day last year.
“I spent a long time just waiting for the moment, and now it is reality,” Lot Ledezma told AZ Central. “I’ll now be walking through life feeling like I have the power to speak, the power to vote and choose my representatives—the power to be American.”
It’s indeed an occasion to rejoice, and as part of the annual celebrations, colorful parades and streets lined with the Star Spangled Banner make for some of the highlights.
As Americans are well aware, the United States stands for freedom of belief and freedom of speech—something that many ethnic groups who call America home value immensely.
During the National Independence Day Parade that took place in Washington D.C. last year, tens of thousands of spectators lined the streets to watch the many contingents pass by. Of the many groups that participated, the Falun Gong practitioner-comprised “Tianguo Marching Band” was invited for the 12th consecutive year.
One spectator, Mr. Adrian Tarasoff, who works in a military institution in Maryland, was “very impressed” with the Tianguo Marching Band. “This music is expressive, outstanding. They show everyone what a good marching band is supposed to be like,” he said, as reported by Minghui.
As the very-colorful procession comprising mostly ethnic Chinese passed by, they were warmly received with many people taking photos. Whilst many people may be aware of the persecution Falun Gong practitioners face in China—a communist nation that tramples freedom of belief—there are still many who are unaware.
Washington D.C. resident Mr. Donald Cotchen, who made a point of watching the parade from the roadside, believes that inviting Falun Gong practitioners to participate in the parade is a testament to the United State’s commitment to upholding freedom of belief.
“I know that this is a group of people with belief. I saw Falun Gong practitioners exercising outside of a court when I was in Texas. I could feel their energy, the serene and peaceful energy field surrounding them. You know that this is a group of kind, loving people. I learned from an online search that the Chinese communist regime puts them in prison just for doing the exercises.”
In addition to the fun Fourth of July parades, Americans enjoy celebrating with get togethers, BBQs, picnics, fireworks, and readings of the Declaration itself—which is core to this celebration.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”—excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.
We hope that the United States continues to be a shining example of freedom to the rest of the world, and that better days will soon come to those still suffering persecution for their beliefs. Hopefully, nations like China will learn to embrace these values and ensure freedom for all.