Posted by: Olena Maryenko, 1998 FLEX Program Alumna
My first 4th of July celebration I marked in Washington D.C. with all its festivities, grandness, and thousands of people who came to participate and observe. The parade on Constitution Avenue was a picturesque kaleidoscope of American history and American heroes. All participants were dressed up in costumes to represent various important events in U.S. history, and in between the historical personas high school music bands and orchestras entertained the crowd. Thousands of tourists with cameras, alongside TV journalists, were filming the procession. The parade started at Capitol Hill and continued to the White House, thus representing the importance of two major pillars of U.S. Independence. Like everything else in the American capital – the parade was well organized, supported by dozens of police officers, rescue and ambulance teams.
I spent my second 4th of July celebration in Annapolis, a little Maryland town just outside of D.C. This one was totally different, but at the same time quite an entertaining experience. The city of Annapolis’s parade was a true tribute to city heroes and city residents. The police chief, fire brigade, city mayor, zumba class for senior citizens, and high school dancing group were all marching down the main city street dancing, playing music and giving out sweet treats to little observers. The atmosphere of joy and festivities was definitely welcoming and cheerful. The parade continued on to the yacht club, where everyone could enjoy a beautiful water view. Later in the evening under the sunset light, the Marine Academy orchestra was in full swing. People were laughing, dancing, eating ice cream or simply enjoying the beautiful melodies under the darkening skies…it was hard not to fall under the 4th of July celebration spell. I fully immersed myself into the spirit and shared the tremendous pride and joy that Americans have for their country and fellow countrymen. It’s impossible to describe how different people, often total strangers, are unified by a strong feeling of pride for America, American people and American Independence.