Philadelphia celebrates freedom and emancipation this Independence Day

    The city where American independence began hosted solemn ceremonies and a parade to mark July 4th.

    People gathered from all over the country for the traditional ceremonies at Independence Hall in Center City Philadelphia. Being the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights movement, Birmingham, Ala., Mayor William Bell was chosen to read a few key lines from the Declaration of Independence.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told the audience that the freedoms America gained 237 years ago are ever changing.

    “It is our recognition that the meaning of the founding principals of the Declaration of Independence must be reinterpreted from time to time to fit the times,” Nutter said. “We evolve.”

    Tourists flooded into the area for the holiday. Steve Whillinger traveled with his wife and son from Pittsburgh and were near the head of a block-long line to see the Liberty Bell.

    “What else to do on the fourth but to see Independence Hall and have a good time,” Whillinger said.

    Beba Peros came from North Jersey for her first view of the bell.

    “It’s the birth of America — Independence Day — and I want to learn more from coming here,” Peros said.

    Drew Dandrea — new to Philadelphia, having moved to here two weeks ago to attend Temple University — says, being African-American, he comes to Independence Hall to pay his respects to the founding fathers.

    “My education, my whole freedom, wouldn’t be in existence if it weren’t for what these guys did,” Dandrea said. “So I always come to pay my respects in some way shape or form.”

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