The Independence Day Parade in Washington

July 4, 2019 Updated: July 5, 2019

WASHINGTON—The Epoch Times spoke with several people attending the Independence Day Parade in Washington on July Fourth, and asked them about the experience.

Amber Hernandez, Texas

The Epoch Times: What brought you here today?

Ms. Hernandez: We came here just to celebrate the Fourth of July. We’ve never been here, so we came to see the monuments and see Donald Trump’s speech and the parade.

The Epoch Times: What do you think about the military equipment? There’s going to be flyovers, there’s going to be tanks this year.

Ms. Hernandez: I’m super-excited, so I’m happy to be here and see all of it. I’m excited.

Amber Hernandez at the Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The Epoch Times: What does July Fourth mean to you?

Ms. Hernandez: I have a lot of patriotism and, currently, I’m actually waiting to sign possibly with the Air Force to do an optometry program with them. But I’ve always had a lot of patriotism. It makes me cry. I always cry on the Fourth of July, when I listen to “God Bless the USA.” It’s like one of my favorite independence songs, American songs. So it always makes me cry.

I’m just happy to be here, especially on this day. And it’s exciting to see everything that goes into it and just all the things that you can see and all the pride, all the American pride; it’s beautiful. See the flag everywhere. It means a lot to me. I’m so happy to be here.

The Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Pat Taylor, Arkansas

The Epoch Times: What brought you here?

Mr. Taylor: I was stationed here in the military, but the boys were too young to really remember any of the monuments or doing anything like that. I retired back to Arkansas. And so, they’re now old enough to kind of remember a lot of stuff. … I came back here for the Fourth of July because all these events are going on, and I can see my friends. So it was kind of a double whammy, you know, the time period was picked for the Fourth of July events and stuff.

The Epoch Times: There’s going to be some military involvement in this. What do you think about that?

Mr. Taylor: I’ll be interested to see what it looks like.

The Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The Epoch Times: What does July Fourth mean to you?

Mr. Taylor: You know, we’re a free country. It’s an indication that we stand for liberty and freedom. That’s what I think it means.

The Epoch Times: What are the principles about the Fourth of July that you’re teaching your kids right now?

Mr. Taylor: They’re kind of young, so it’s kind of complicated to explain to them. You can’t go into the history. We had no representation in the government. They can’t understand, you know, they can’t understand any of that. But I teach them general morals, just to be polite to people and to share, you know? So I’m not really teaching them anything specifically about the Fourth of July, I think they are just a bit too young for that right now. But, I teach them morals, of course.

The Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Kathy and Len Elliott, San Francisco Bay Area

The Epoch Times: What brought you here?

Mr. Elliott: We sang in a Michael W. Smith concert at the Kennedy Center. There was a choir of 200 and an orchestra of 60. And we put on a concert Monday night with Michael W. Smith. He is a well-known Christian artist, if you follow that genre.

The Epoch Times: You didn’t come just for this.

Mr.Elliott: Well, … actually, we added this on, but I really came to sing in the concert. We’re from California.

The Epoch Times: What part of California?

Mr.Elliott: East of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Epoch Times: This year is going to be a little bit unusual in that there’s going to be a flyover and there’s going to be tanks and a little bit more of the military involved. What do you think about that?

Mr.Elliott: Great. That’s good. We need to show that we are strong.

Mrs.Elliott: And safe.

Mr.Elliott: And safe. If we are all going to be a bunch of wimps, then we will never have a country for very long.

Kathy and Len Elliott at the Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The Epoch Times: What does July Fourth represent to you?

Mr.Elliott: The founding of our nation and all the freedoms that we have. You know, the Declaration of Independence.

Mrs.Elliott: We’ve traveled the world and there’s nobody that has the kind of freedom that we have. We love it every time we come home from overseas. We are just grateful that we have such an amazing country to come home to.

The Epoch Times: If there’s one thing that you want non-Americans to know about this day, what would that be?

Mrs.Elliott: That we are blessed to live here. I’m thankful for my grandparents that left Romania and came here to provide a wonderful, wonderful place for us to grow up. And I’m just the third generation. My grandparents came from Romania, then my mom and then me. So I feel blessed that they didn’t stay in Romania, where there was communism and oppression and everything.

Mr.Elliott: So blessed to be here, when they came here to practice their religion. Yes. We still enjoy that freedom to worship as Christians and not have somebody telling us we can’t do that.

The Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Anthony Campitiello, New York City

The Epoch Times: And what brought you here today?

Mr. Campitiello: I want to celebrate the Fourth of July, and I love my president.

The Epoch Times: You’re from his hometown, too? It doesn’t seem like there’s many of you in his hometown. How do you feel about that?

Mr. Campitiello: Yeah, we’re rare. I still have my Trump sticker on my work truck. Nobody bothers me.

Anthony Campitiello at the Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The Epoch Times: You said you came here just for today. What are you hoping to see?

Mr. Campitiello: We want to see the parade, the fireworks, his speech.

The Epoch Times: There’s going to be a lot more military involvement in this year’s parade. There’s going to be a flyover and tanks. Do you have any thoughts about that?

Mr. Campitiello: Yeah, it’s sweet. I love planes and I like to see the Blue Angels a lot.

The Epoch Times: So you’re looking forward to it. What does July Fourth mean to you?

Mr. Campitiello: [It’s] the best holiday, because everybody comes together to celebrate America.

The Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Ericka and Duane Lamanna, San Antonio

The Epoch Times: Did you plan your vacation around this or was this just a bonus?

Ms. Lamanna: We usually do our vacation on the week of the fourth, so we’ve never been here.

Mr. Lamanna: And we had it planned for, what, about two months now?

The Epoch Times: What did you guys think of the parade?

Ms. Lamanna: It’s nice, other than it’s super hot today. But it’s really nice. Yeah, I like how it’s continuous, it doesn’t have breaks. So yeah, I like that.

(Back L-R) Ericka Lamanna, Duane Lamanna (front L-R) John Lamanna, and Seth Lamanna from San Antonio, Texas, attend the July 4th parade in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2019. (Holly Kellum/The Epoch Times)

The Epoch Times: This year was unusual. They have tanks stationed around. They’re going to have a flyover. Do you guys have any thoughts about the addition of this military equipment?

Mr. Lamanna: The tanks seem a little intimidating. I didn’t think it’d be. I didn’t think it would look intimidating when I heard about it. When I saw it my eye, it doesn’t look like that much of a positive feeling. Just a little intimidating.

The Epoch Times: Okay. What about you?

Ms. Lamanna: I mean, I think it’s cool. A highlight was taking pictures of them. They [the children] like it. I want to see the Blue Angels, so, hopefully, we’ll get a good spot for all of that. We’re excited about that. For sure.

The Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The Epoch Times: What does this day represent for you and why do you feel it’s important to celebrate?

Ms. Lamanna: Freedom. Family. Fireworks. They [the children] care about fireworks.

The Epoch Times: Any last thoughts?

Mr. Lamanna: Washington was great. Friendly, friendly people here, and it’s fun to see. We really enjoyed ourselves. Yeah!

The Epoch Times: Do you think you’ll come back for another parade?

Ms. Lamanna: I’d like to come back. I think we’d like to do what we didn’t get to. I felt like we did a lot, but there’s so much more.

Denise Bannister of Winston, North Carolina, with her granddaughter at the July 4th parade in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2019. (Holly Kellum/The Epoch Times)

Denise Bannister, Winston, N.C.

The Epoch Times: They’re going to have a little bit more military involvement. There’s going to be the flyover. What do you think about that?

Ms. Bannister: I think is wonderful. Okay.

The Epoch Times: What do you think of the parade so far?

Ms. Bannister: So far, I’m liking it. Quite a few nice names. Patriotism.

The Epoch Times: What does July Fourth signify to you? Why are you celebrating?

Ms. Bannister: Because this is the Fourth! Fireworks!

The Fourth of July parade in Washington, on July 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

With reporting by Holly Kellum.

Correction: Len Elliott’s name now has the correct spelling. Epoch Times regrets the error.

 

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