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Fireworks, hot dogs, hurricane help mark July 4th

The United States marks 238 years as an independent nation as it celebrates the Fourth of July with fireworks, food and music. Nature and politics also play a role this year, with Hurricane Arthur crashing holiday parties along the East Coast and subdued festivities in Moscow amid growing anti-American sentiment over the crisis in Ukraine. Here are some highlights of Independence Day celebrations across the globe:

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FIRE IN THE SKY

Tens of thousands of people crammed the narrow cobble stone streets of a landmark seaport and the closed lanes of a riverfront highway to watch the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show in New York City.

A brilliant 25-minute show of reds, whites and blues lit up the sky from three barges on the East River, sandwiched between Brooklyn and lower Manhattan - and even some from the Brooklyn Bridge itself.

Macy's says more than 1,600 shells were launched per minute during the 25-minute display over the East River. It's the nation's largest Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

Hundreds of umbrellas, which were prohibited, lay at the base of the span. With Hurricane Arthur passing through the area hours before the fireworks started, they weren't needed.

One World Trade Center marked the holiday by lighting its 400-foot antenna red, white and blue.

Other major fireworks shows were being held in Chicago on Lake Michigan and in San Francisco over the bay.

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WEATHER WORRIES

The first hurricane of the season, Arthur, forced many East Coast cities to switch the dates of their Fourth of July celebrations. Boston officials moved the annual Boston Pops July 4 concert and fireworks from Friday to Thursday. Then they cut short the concerts so the fireworks could begin. Shortly after the dazzling display thundered to a close, a drenching rain began falling. Meanwhile, several cities in Maine, New Hampshire and New Jersey moved their fireworks shows to either Saturday or Sunday. Augusta, Maine, moved its fireworks to Aug. 2.

When it crossed North Carolina's Outer Banks late Thursday, Arthur narrowly missed becoming the first hurricane to make landfall on July Fourth, according to National Hurricane Center research that dates to the 1850s.

In Phoenix, the first dust storm of the summer arrived with blinding winds that forced the cancellation of holiday plans, knocked out power and grounded flights.

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INSPIRING MUSIC

In Washington, composer John Williams is to debut a new arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner" featuring choirs, trumpets, an orchestra and cannons on the National Mall.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the national anthem. Francis Scott Key was inspired by the sight of the flag over Baltimore's Fort McHenry in September 1814 after a 25-hour British bombardment.

Thousands of people celebrated the Fourth in the nation's capital under clear skies, despite initial fears rain could ruin their fun. Visitors to the Mall gazed at the White House and the Washington Monument and strolled through the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which featured food, music and cultural demonstrations.

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GLUTTONY ON THE FOURTH

High-ranking chowhound Joey "Jaws" Chestnut dropped to one knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend before Friday's annual Coney Island hot dog eating contest, then packed away 61 franks and buns to hold onto his coveted mustard yellow winner's belt. The San Jose, California, man fell far short of his record last year of 69 dogs and buns, but he still easily beat second-place finisher Matt Stonie, also of San Jose, who downed just 56.

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INDEPENDENCE HALL

Vice President Joe Biden, addressing the annual "Celebration of Freedom" ceremony at Independence Hall, said the lessons of the civil rights movement show that the struggle for freedom that began in Philadelphia more than two centuries ago is not over.

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EX-PATS IN CANADA

Julie Buchanan, treasurer of Democrats Abroad, planned to celebrate at a Toronto bar with red, white and blue sparklers, about 125 of her American ex-pat friends, and life-size cut-outs of President Barack Obama and the first lady.

"We really miss the patriotism of America; so many of us crave that sense of pride and camaraderie from back home," said Buchanan, an Alabama native who moved to Toronto from Memphis, Tennessee, in 2000.

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MOSCOW PARTIES

The national anthems of both Russia and the United States played at the traditional July 4 garden party held at the stately residence of the American ambassador in Moscow. But far fewer Russians than usual came, either because they were unwilling to be seen associating with American diplomats or because their anti-American statements had gotten them scratched off of the guest list.

The other big Independence Day party in Moscow, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce, takes place Sunday and, in a break from tradition, is being held at a private golf and polo club instead of a city park. Security appears to have been a concern for the change.

Join the discussion

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ERIK July 04 2014 at 11:34 PM

Independence from....tyranny? Sadly, we're heading back in that direction.

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7 replies
pdbliz July 04 2014 at 11:34 PM

Democrats want to get people here,,,well,,,Democrats,,,let them stay at your home and you feed them,!!!!

Flag Reply +17 rate up
5 replies
TripleXKimberly July 04 2014 at 11:13 PM

For the Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave. Happy Independance Day to all!

Flag Reply +16 rate up
1 reply
Franco TripleXKimberly July 05 2014 at 12:02 AM

I'd say it's only half brave. :O(

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
Jason Franco July 05 2014 at 9:13 AM

yeah the poor inbred right wing bible thumping trailer trash :( this country should clip off the south and let them wallow in their shacks

Flag 0 rate up
Dale Franco July 05 2014 at 10:11 AM

@jason......too bad we have to put up with comments like yours...you must have problems with authorities.....what we need less of is public assistance generations and drug testing for those who receive it

Flag +1 rate up
vinibomba July 04 2014 at 10:58 PM

Don't you think the left and their leader are leading us away from the American way and rolling the way the Europeans are moving. Why the hell do you think people came to the US , they wanted to get away from that direction . Best these left winger move back if that the way they want to live.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
8 replies
rothhammer1 July 05 2014 at 5:55 AM

Those of you spitting your fear and anger couldn't take just one day off?

Flag Reply +10 rate up
6 replies
eeodjo July 04 2014 at 11:08 PM

I SALUTE YOU STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER. GO RED, WHITE AND BLUE INTO THE WIDE BLUE YONDER!!

Flag Reply +10 rate up
pdbliz July 04 2014 at 11:33 PM

I have no problem with people from other countries coming to America..
Just do it legal.........And,,this is not 1850,,when you can just walk across,,,,,
1900,s...people came into Ellis Island ........NOW,,,,WE HAVE A BUS TO MEET THEM ON THE BORDER..........

Flag Reply +10 rate up
4 replies
MSmailbox July 05 2014 at 2:36 AM

Independence Day isn't merely about gaining our independence, it's about retaining our independence... A reminder to all generations!

America is a Christian nation. "Seperation of church and state," first appeared in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a group of Baptists, in the year 1800. Jefferson's intent was to prevent "denominational-rivalry," within the Christian church, not to provide a level-playing field to "imposter-religions." God is no respector of men, nor is He a respector of nations. The message of the day, is clear... Return to God, or America will face judgement. Just as the US Contitution has spanned many presidents and administrations, so too, the Holy Bible spans many nations, even empires. "Even though heaven and earth may pass away, the Word of the Lord shall endure forever."

In this rapidly changing world, crumbling with each passing day, there is but One thing that can be trusted, the Word of God. Read the words of His Son, Jesus.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
8 replies
pdbliz July 04 2014 at 11:30 PM

When will America get its Independence from China.????

Flag Reply +8 rate up
4 replies
ecarr55806 July 04 2014 at 11:28 PM

New York fireworkis spectacular is nothing but a bunch of screamling nonsense. Can't understand a single word from any of the music. Turned it off.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
8 replies
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