Max Suzuki participates in Nathan’s Famous International Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest weigh-in at the Empire State Building on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

On July 4, Americans celebrate their union, rue divisions

From New York to New Mexico, July Fourth events will celebrate what Americans have in common.

Americans are marking Independence Day with parades, fireworks and, for some, a renewed sense of pride in their 242-year-old nation. For others, a sense of a United States divided weighs heavy on its quintessential holiday.

From New York to New Mexico, July Fourth events will celebrate what Americans have in common. Festivities are as elaborate as Macy’s July Fourth fireworks show, as gulp-worthy as Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest and as easygoing as backyard barbecues. But in a country roiled with debate over what it means to be an American, there are even competing televised Independence Day events in the nation’s capital.

The country’s longest-running live national July Fourth TV tradition — PBS’ broadcast of music and fireworks from the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn — is facing new counterprogramming from the White House, which is hosting its own concert and view of the National Park Service’s fireworks show. Both shows feature different “American Idol” alums.

First lady Melania Trump said in a statement that the White House show would allow Americans to “tune in from their homes and be part of the festivities.” PBS declined to comment.

In New York, the Macy’s fireworks show over the East River promises 25 minutes of sparkle and “ahhhh,” plus the West Point Band and entertainers including Kelly Clarkson, Ricky Martin and Keith Urban on NBC’s broadcast. Earlier, competitive-eating titans will face off at Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, televised by ESPN.

Meanwhile, some communities in the American West have cancelled their planned July Fourth fireworks because of high wildfire danger, and some others are doing drone light displays instead of pyrotechnics. But fireworks shows will go ahead in such places as Denver and Colorado Springs.

In Boston, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular features singer-songwriter Rachel Platten, the Indigo Girls, Rhiannon Giddens and Broadway legend Rita Moreno. It’s televised on local station WHDH-TV and streamed on several sites.

Related: FBI arrest man in alleged July 4 attack plan in Cleveland

Related: Trudeau, NATO leaders gearing up for defence spending debate with Trump

In another July Fourth tradition, new U.S. citizens will be sworn in at locales around the country.

They’ll pledge allegiance to a country where some people lament that the ability to debate respectfully the toughest issues of the day seems hopelessly lost. For Brad Messier, a chef in Portland, Maine, the holiday “seems to illustrate the glaring divides that we have.”

“How much does going and seeing fireworks really bring people together?” he asks.

But in rural Shelby County, Alabama, retired truck driver Floyd Champion views these as the best of times in America.

“I love the holiday because it’s our independence,” he said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

South Surrey mother ‘never called 911’ after killing daughter, court hears

Crown submits evidence shows Lisa Batstone wanted eight-year-old Teagan to die

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Feds earmark $7.5 million to help keep Surrey teens out of gangs

It’s expected as many as 4,730 teenagers in Surrey will benefit from it

A look inside Brendan McLeod’s ‘Brain,’ in Surrey on tour

INTERVIEW: Toronto-based artist at Centre Stage with words and music

Louder helicopter partly to blame for rash of complaints in Surrey: RCMP

Police say helicopter training is conducted in Cloverdale because it’s ‘a very practical area where we do a lot of real police work’

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Video: Runaway Coquihalla dog returned to owner

Archer, the dog found roaming along Coq. Hwy. on Jan. 19, has been reunited with owner

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Abbotsford woman speaks out after she fainted and bystanders ignored her

Meghan Canavan says bystanders walked by with no offer of help after she fainted recently

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Most Read