America celebrates July 4 with hot dogs, banners and barbecues
By Katie Reilly
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans marched in star-spangled parades, ran relay races, gathered for fireworks shows and crowned a new world hot dog eating champion as they celebrated Independence Day in traditional style on Saturday.
Possible security threats, wildfires in the West and rainy weather on the East Coast apparently did little to dampen the spirits of celebrants decked out in red, white and blue from their headbands to their shoelaces.
Crowds at Boston's Old State House erupted in applause and cannons shot out tri-color confetti after the annual July Fourth reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Meskie Hyman, 11, exuded patriot pride in a star-spangled shirt and a hairband with two American flags that fluttered under cloudy skies in Maplewood, New Jersey.
"I love that it's a free country and we have the right to speak. It lets us see everyone's potential and find our heroes," she said.
The crowd in Washington, D.C. watched a parade of brass bands, law enforcement motorcycle units, high school drum majorettes, antique cars and police and military detachments.
The National Mall, an open area west of the Capitol and site of a fireworks display expected to draw hundreds of thousands, was soggy from steady rain that had stopped by the time the parade started. Among them was Kearston Andrews, 26, who had traveled with her family from near Gainesville, Florida, and said security concerns had not affected them.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an alert this week asking local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats following recent calls for violence by leaders of radical Islamist group Islamic State. Continued...