Pomp, fire­works and hot dog con­test mark In­de­pen­dence Day

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

NEW YORK — Amer­i­cans cel­e­brated their coun­try’s birth­day on Tues­day with fire­works, pa­rades and com­pet­i­tive hot dog eat­ing, mark­ing a day of shared tra­di­tions in a na­tion that has grap­pled with di­vides this past year.

In New York, throngs were ex­pected to watch the an­nual Macy’s fire­works blowout and the Nathan’s Fa­mous frank­furter-chomp­ing con­test on Coney Is­land on Wed­nes­day.

In Wash­ing­ton, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is ob­serv­ing his first In­de­pen­dence Day in of­fice by host­ing a White House pic­nic for mil­i­tary fam­i­lies, fol­lowed by a fire­works view­ing event for mil­i­tary fam­i­lies and staffers.

In Bos­ton, one of 14 orig­i­nal copies of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence will be dis­played at a mu­seum, and hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple are ex­pected at the city’s fire­works show. Or­ga­niz­ers of Chicago’s In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tion are ex­pect­ing such large crowds that the city’s Navy Pier is open­ing at 10 am, nearly 12 hours be­fore the fire­works be­gin.

Mean­while, more than 15,000 new US cit­i­zens will be sworn in dur­ing more than 65 In­de­pen­dence Daythemed nat­u­ral­iza­tion cer­e­monies across the coun­try.

For all the pomp and cel­e­bra­tion, July 4 ar­rives with Amer­i­cans deeply split over the na­tion’s di­rec­tion, af­ter last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec- tion and po­lit­i­cal clashes over im­mi­gra­tion, health­care and other is­sues in the early months of Trump’s Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion. And in an era of con­cerns about se­cu­rity, the In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions are mixed with pre­cau­tions.

ve­hi­cles will be placed to block in­ter­sec­tions in New York as part of se­cu­rity mea­sures.

The New York Po­lice Depart­ment planned to sta­tion 100 ve­hi­cles to block in­ter­sec­tions and 20 sand­filled san­i­ta­tion trucks to for­tify view­ing ar­eas for the Macy’s fire­works show.

Heav­ily armed coun­tert­er­ror­ism units will min­gle among spec­ta­tors, of­fi­cers will have por­ta­ble ra­di­a­tion de­tec­tion de­vices and bomb­sniff­ing dogs, and of­fi­cers will be sta­tioned on rooftops.

Bos­ton po­lice also plan to put trucks and other heavy equip­ment near the cel­e­bra­tion there. Po­lice in both cities say there are no con­firmed threats.

Mean­while, a res­i­dent of La­co­nia, New Hamp­shire, stepped in to or­ga­nize a pa­rade af­ter learn­ing it was fac­ing can­cel­la­tion for lack of in­ter­est. Some 25 or­ga­ni­za­tions have since signed up to pro­vide floats or marchers.

RICHARD DREW / AP

Cham­pion Joey Chest­nut holds a tray of hot dogs ahead of an eat­ing con­test in New York on Mon­day.

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