July Fourth celebrations include fireworks, food

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July Fourth Celebrations
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July Fourth celebrations include fireworks, food
Davi Niroula, of Bhutan, holds a U.S. flag and an Atlanta Braves foam tomahawk before being sworn in as a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony at Turner Field, home of the Braves baseball team, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in Atlanta. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services welcomed 1,094 new citizens from 81 countries as part of their annual Independence Day celebration marking the nation’s 238th birthday this year. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Newly-sworn in U.S. citizens cheer during a naturalization ceremony for more than 1,000 citizenship candidates at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in Atlanta. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services welcomed 1,094 new citizens from 81 countries as part of their annual Independence Day celebration marking the nation’s 238th birthday this year. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Alex Contis, of Romania, right, places an American flag in the hair of his daughter Sarah, 5, as he becomes a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony for more than 1,000 citizenship candidates at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in Atlanta. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services welcomed 1,094 new citizens from 81 countries as part of their annual Independence Day celebration, marking the nation’s 238th birthday this year. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
The Oath of Allegiance is held by Sau Hou Chang of Macau at a naturalization ceremony at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, Thursday, July 3, 2014. Judge Sarah Evans Barker naturalized 101 new citizens at the ceremony. The ceremony was part of an annual celebration of Independence Day by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
One hundred and one new U.S. citizens hold American flags as they listen to speakers at a naturalization ceremony at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, Thursday, July 3, 2014. The ceremony was part of an annual celebration of Independence Day by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Fireworks light up Coors Field during an Independence Day celebration after the Los Angeles Dodgers' 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Thursday, July 3, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A long time exposure captures a final burst of aerial fireworks at the City of Jackson's First Fourth of July Celebration in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, July 3, 2014 at Smith-Wills Stadium. A standing room only crowd listened to various musical acts, participated in family and kid friendly activities and capped the evening with a 20-minute firework show. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A long time exposure captures a final burst of aerial fireworks at the City of Jackson's First Fourth of July Celebration in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, July 3, 2014 at Smith-Wills Stadium. A standing room only crowd listened to various musical acts, participated in family and kid friendly activities and capped the evening with a 20-minute barrage of aerial fireworks. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Cody Johnson works to hang flags at Silver Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center in Camden, Ark., Thursday, July 3, 2014, in preparation for Independence Day celebrations at the center. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
A tray of hot dogs are carried through the crowd just before the start of Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Five-time Nathan’s Famous Champion Joey Chestnut celebrates his sixth title by equaling his record of 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Charlie Dicanio wears a hot dog hat just before the start of Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Five-time Nathan’s Famous Champion Joey Chestnut as he wins his sixth title by equaling his record of 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Men compete during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York.Five-time Nathan’s Famous Champion Joey Chestnut won his sixth title by equaling his record of 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Men compete during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York.Five-time Nathan’s Famous Champion Joey Chestnut won his sixth title by equaling his record of 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Five-time Nathan’s Famous Champion Joey Chestnut as he wins his sixth title by equaling his record of 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Five-time Nathan’s Famous Champion Joey Chestnut as he wins his sixth title by equaling his record of 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Five-time Nathan’s Famous Champion Joey Chestnut wins his sixth title by equaling his record of 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Women compete in Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas won by eating 45 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Women compete in Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas won by eating 45 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Women compete in Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas won by eating 45 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Women’s Hot Dog Eating World Championship, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island section of New York. Thomas won by eating 45 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Hot dogs in buns at the official weigh-in ceremony for the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 3, 2012 at City Hall in New York. The contest will be held July 4 at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Brooklyn, UNITED STATES: Joey Chestnut (L) of San Jose, California celebrates winning the annual International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest by holding a plate of 66 hot dogs and buns with an unidentifed official, 04 July 2007, at the original Nathan?s Famous restaurant in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, NY. Chestnut won by eating 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes, a world record, beating defending and six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan. The initial count was tied at 63 after the 12 minutes, but judges awarded Chestnut 3 more hot dogs after counting their plates. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Brooklyn, UNITED STATES: Takeru Kobayashi (L, front) of Nagano, Japan, Joey Chestnut (C) of San Jose, California and Patrick Bertoletti (R) of Chicago, Illinois, during the annual International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest, 04 July 2007, at the original Nathan?s Famous restaurant in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, NY. Chestnut won by eating 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes, a world record, beating defending and six-time champion Kobayashi. The inital count was tied at 63 after the 12 minutes, but judges awarded Chestnut 3 more hot dogs after counting their plates. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Brooklyn, UNITED STATES: Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan signs autographs after the annual International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest, 04 July 2007, at the original Nathan?s Famous restaurant in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, NY. Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California won by eating 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes, a world record, beating defending and six-time champion Kobayashi. The inital count was tied at 63 after the 12 minutes, but judges awarded Chestnut 3 more hot dogs after counting their plates. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Brooklyn, UNITED STATES: Contestants compete during the annual International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest, 04 July 2007, at the original Nathan?s Famous restaurant in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, NY. Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California won by eating 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes, a world record, beating defending and six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan. The inital count was tied at 63 after the 12 minutes, but judges awarded Chestnut 3 more hot dogs after counting their plates. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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The United States marks 238 years as an independent nation as it celebrates the Fourth of July with fireworks, food and music. Here are some highlights:

HISTORY

The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Second Continental Congress of the 13 colonies, meeting in Philadelphia. The tradition of celebrating July Fourth with fireworks, parades and speeches spread from Philadelphia to other cities and towns across the new nation. Congress established Independence Day as a holiday in 1870.

FIRE IN THE SKY

The Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show in New York City is the nation's largest. Macy's says more than 1,600 shells will be launched per minute during the 25-minute display over the East River. Other major fireworks shows include those in Chicago on Lake Michigan and in San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay.

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 show 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.

PARADES

Fourth of July parades are planned around the country. One of the largest, Washington's National Independence Day Parade, kicks off on Constitution Avenue and features marching bands, floats and giant balloons.

INSPIRING MUSIC

Also 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.

A soloist normally performs the national anthem for the annual "Capitol Fourth" celebration, but this year Williams will lead the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in performing the new arrangement.

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.

GLUTTONY ON THE FOURTH

The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island will feature defending champion Joey Chestnut, who ate 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes last year. Chestnut, of San Jose, California, has said he prepares for the contest by fasting for three days to stretch the muscles in his esophagus.

FIREWORKS FATALITY

A trailer loaded with fireworks exploded Thursday morning near a Texas high school, killing one person and injuring three other people who were setting up for a Fourth of July show, a fire official said.

Comanche, Texas, fire Lt. Marcus Nettleton said it was unclear what caused the explosion in the trailer, which was hooked to a pickup truck.
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