Thousands Gather in D.C. to Celebrate a Nearly Normal US Independence Day

Thousands of Americans gathered in the nation’s capital Sunday, welcomed beneath a bright blue sky to a city eager to host an Independence Day that resembled some version of a normal one.
With coronavirus restrictions lifted and new cases plummeting, families arrived to Washington early for the holiday, converging on Constitution Avenue to pose with actors dressed as George and Martha Washington in front of the National Archives or write “Happy Fourth” in chalk on the street.
At Mount Vernon, the home of America’s first president, immigrants dressed in suits and dresses readied to become naturalized U.S. citizens. And on Barracks Row, children crowded along the street to collect beads and candy from a parade that had been canceled a year ago.
Biden wants Americans to celebrate too, after enduring 16 months of disruption in the pandemic and more than 605,000 deaths. The White House encouraged gatherings and fireworks displays all around the country to mark — as though ripped from a Hollywood script — the nation’s “independence” from the virus.
Biden, who is set to host the largest event yet of his presidency on the South Lawn of the White House on Sunday, sees this as a long-awaited opportunity to highlight the success of the vaccination campaign he championed. It will be the clearest indication yet that the U.S. has moved into a new phase of virus response, shifting from a national emergency to a localized crisis of individual responsibility and from vaccinating Americans to promoting global health.
“The Fourth of July this year is different than the Fourth of July of last year,” Biden said Friday. “And it’s going to be better next year.”
All Albania's authorities have expressed separately their wishes to the US on the occasion, while the Ambassador, Yuri Kim hosted a reception on July 1 bringing together President Ilir Meta and Speaker Gramoz Ruci. But PM Edi Rama did not attend it. DP head Lulzim Basha was present but not his veteran predecessor Sali Berisha who has been punished by the White House being declared persona non-grata.