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Thank You

Welcome America

By Navpreet Kaur, Amelia Erickson, Luke Mullock, Alex DeBerardinis

Philadelphia is the birthplace of freedom and the nation, making it the best place to spend Independence Day. The 4th of July is filled with hamburgers, hot dogs, parades, and fireworks as people celebrate the independence of our country and the well known words of our forefathers. On this day in 1776, Americans were granted to right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Philadelphia's celebration, Welcome America, promoted by Wawa, will keep anyone happy. The patriotic events start on June 25th, more than a week before the 4th of July, and do not conclude until the 5th of July. Over twenty events span across the weeks, including free concerts and movies, an array of children's activities, food tasting, and a mile long hoagie built at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The 4th is by far the the most event packed day. Starting at ten in the morning, people can begin to celebrate America's birthday all throughout Philadelphia. Some of the festivities include an Independence Day Parade, a Party on the Parkway, a Bell Tapping Ceremony, and a Goo Goo Dolls concert followed by fireworks. The traditional parade will host American flags, spirit, and energy as people march through Old City. The Bell Tapping Ceremony, located at the Liberty Bell Center, will include descendants of the original signers tapping the national treasure and a ringing of the bell in Independence Hall.

People from around the country have traveled to the city to visit historic sties and learn more about our independence. Murray Mullens, a tour guide in the city, explains tourists can "go down to the state house into the assembly room where those men created that document called the Declaration of Independence." In fact, the assembly room is regarded as the most historic room in the most historic building in the most historic square mile of the country, as it was the place the Declaration was debated and signed.

With all of the events hosted in Philadelphia, it would seem as though they would be overly crowded. However, many people do not know about everything occurring in the city, or have their own plans with family and friends.

Nanette Glanski, a tourist from Texas explains: "Fortunately it's my birthday so I am fortunate enough to have my children around and my grandkids". Suzie and Lucy, tourists from Wyoming, state they will be celebrating the 4th with a "barbeque with friends."

Contrary to popular belief, the final papers of the Declaration were approved on the 2nd of July, and it was not signed in full until almost a month later, August 2nd of that year. For this reason, many historians debate when the birth of the country should be celebrated. Some argue the 2nd, when it was ratified, while others believe the 4th, when the Declaration of Independence was printed and dated, is the true day of freedom.

The tour guide, Murray, may have put it best. "This is where everyone's eyes and focus should be because this is where it all started."