As the national symbol of freedom and democracy, Washington D.C. is the perfect place to celebrate the 4th of July in America. I took advantage of being in DC by participating in all of the most patriotic activities. From 9am to 9pm I partied like it was 1776 and wished America a Happy Birthday.
Here is what I did.
Breakfast at Lincoln’s Waffles
The day began at Lincoln’s Waffles. Ironically I ordered pancakes. The coffee is rich and the pancakes stuffed with blueberries are sweet. I couldn’t think of a more America way to enjoy breakfast than to eat in a diner that sells cigarettes and playing cards.
Check out their full menu here.
Reading of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives
After a good dose of caffeinated coffee and a belly full of pancakes I start walking to the National Archives where the official celebration starts! Everyone covered in head to toe red, white, and blue. I can feel patriotism in the air as hundreds of people gather in the hot sun to rejoice in freedom and independence. The National Anthem is sung and the Declaration of Independence is read aloud by men dressed as the Founding Fathers! Cheers, boos, and huzzas are shouted. This is a celebration you would not want to miss.
Many people traveled hundreds of miles to enjoy the celebration at the nation’s capital. Even though the event is huge I still manage to connect with fellow North Carolina natives while in line for the National Archives. Growing tired as the hot sun beat down on my neck I was thankful for every passing minute closer to the National Archives opening.
Seeing the Declaration of Independence on Independence Day
At 12 the doors to the National Archives open people spill in the air-conditioned building excited to see the Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution on the most iconic day of freedom. These are several important documents you won’t want to miss seeing while in D.C.
I hear chanting and the parade has begun. I sneak a peek of soldiers marching just before I walk in the National Archives.
A George Mason University student Thomas Johnston declared, “This is America. This is history“.I understand exactly what he meant. Seeing the Declaration of Independence on Independence Day has a deeper significance. I have seen the document twice before, but this time it meant so much more.
Picnicking on the mall
Around lunchtime, I head to the mall in hopes of snagging a bite to eat at one of the food trucks. Unfortunately, the food trucks normally parked outside the Washington Monument are nowhere to be found. Instead, I eat a veggie sandwich and frozen lemonade purchased from the refreshments stand. Hundreds of people gathered on the Washington mall. Some are laying down on blankets trying to cool off and others are tossing around a frisbee. If you are planning on getting lunch at the mall, grabbing a fast bite at a refreshments stand is a great option.
Visit the Monuments
After lunch, I join the large crowds at the Lincoln Memorial. The afternoon took an unfortunate turn as thunder boomed and the rain began to downpour. I huddled underneath a tree to get shelter from the storm. Only an hour before I overheated and now I had goosebumps on my arms from the cool rain. The rain didn’t discourage people from attending as the memorial is still covered with hundreds of people in umbrellas and ponchos.
Listened to the President’s “Salute to America”
President Trump’s “Salute to America” included thanks to our military. During this extravaganza, the aircrafts soared representing the US Coast Gaurd, Navy, Marines, and Army. As the grand finale, the Navy’s Blue Angles did tricks in the sky leaving the crowd in awe.
Intern reporter at the Washington Times Emily Ketterer said, “It’s hard not to be patriotic when you are in DC on the 4th of July”.
Hearing the President speak about American heroes puts into perspective everything America stands for, freedom and hope.
Watch the concert at the Capital
At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pass the time from the President’s speech until the fireworks show considering I was still cold and wet from the rain. The concert made everything better. As someone who likes to get down on the dance floor, I had a blast swaying and clapping as stars performed American classic songs. John Stamos, former Full House star, hosted the lively event.
Fireworks boom and pop overhead. Even though my family usually sets off their own fireworks nothing compares to these. Costing $750,000 and zooming a mile into the sky these fireworks are top notch. Fifteen minutes later I am heading home still hearing some of the last fireworks explode behind me.
Eat tater tots at Tonic
After a busy day, I ended it by enjoying the American favorite, tater tots. Covered in cheese, beans, and sour cream these were no ordinary tater tots.
Check out their full menu here.
Overall, I am so grateful I got to experience the 4th as it should be. I hope you get a chance to celebrate the 4th of July in the nation’s capital too.