The Long Weekend

Traffic’s been light on 395 this week, likely a sign of people leaving town for the long Independence Day weekend. Lots of folks head out of town for the weekend, but as someone who usually celebrates the Fourth of July with some fervor, this is a good place to be for the day.

You can go see the document that started it all at the National Archives, the Declaration is on Display there along with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. On the 4th, there will be a reading of the Declaration at 10am on the Steps of the Archives on Constitution Ave. The Declaration is one of the most poetic of our founding documents, with such beautiful rhetoric as: “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

And of course, there will be a parade downtown. What’s Independence Day without a parade? I mean really. After you’ve listened to the Declaration, get a good spot along Constitution to watch the marching bands (likely playing JP Sousa’s works) and military demonstration units (including The Old Guard, in Revolutionary Garb) march on the route down Constitution toward the Lincoln Memorial.

Fireworks don’t start until 9 or so over the Mall, so feel free to grab a spot near the Washington Monument and watch the concert that will take place near there, or look for folks from your home state, most Mall-camping groups will be flying a flag of one sort or another.

At 8pm, Barry Bostwick will be hosting the concert on the Capitol Steps, featuring the NSO, Gloria Estefan, the Beach Boys and Ronan “I only sing God Bless America” Tynan. Of course, it all ends with the 1812 Overture, which features LIVE CANNON FIRE. Yes, Live Cannons, and a Symphony Orchestra. How can you go wrong?

And of course, the Fireworks on the Mall. They’ll start around 9:10 or so, and they’ll be some of the most impressive you’ll see, just for the crowds, the ambience and the great photo potential of capturing a bursting firework between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. That right there is worth all the hassle of getting there.

Take Metro, sunscreen, and a good camera. You’ll not regret it. It’s something everyone who lives here should do, at least once while they’re here.

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