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The 4th of July - Americans Celebrate Independence Day Events

Americans across the country gathered Thursday for 4th of July festivities. From the reopening of the Statue Of Liberty, to the annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest.

During an US Independence Day ceremony, the Statue of Liberty finally reopened to visitors, eight months after Superstorm Sandy shuttered the national symbol of freedom. The opening came with plenty of patriotic fanfare, including a small marching band clad in Revolutionary War-era uniforms, members of Congress and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The statue itself was unharmed, but the land took a beating. Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris.

A large crowd gathered for the holiday and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Liberty Island with federal officials and New York's mayor. Lines stretched blocks long for the boat, which left from Battery Park in Manhattan.
The US Independence Day's events also included a somber fireworks tribute to 19 firefighters who died this week while fighting a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona.

In the nation's capital, members of the military and their families were welcomed to the South Lawn of the White House as President Obama continued a tradition of honoring the nation's armed forces on the Fourth of July.

Elsewhere in New York, throngs of revelers packed Brooklyn's Coney Island to see competitive eating champ Joey Chestnut scarf down 69 hot dogs to break a world record and win the title for a seventh year at the 98th annual Nathan's Famous 4th of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. On the women’s side, Sonya Thomas, who weighs only 100 lbs. and is known as the "Black Widow" of competitive eating, downed almost 37 franks for the win.
In Washington, thousands of Americans plan to gather on the National Mall to watch a 17-minute fireworks display and listen to performances by Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and John Williams conducting music from the movie "Lincoln." New Orleans was hosting the Essence Music Festival stringing stages along the French Quarter. And Philadelphia was hosting what was billed as the "largest free concert in America," with John Mayer, Neo and Hunter Hayes, who was filling in last-minute for a sick Demi Lovato.

In Boston, attendance for the city's celebration appeared down, with crowds on the Charles River Esplanade seeming smaller than in recent years while a robust law enforcement presence greeted revelers gathering for a performance by the Boston Pops and a fireworks display.

It's much bigger than what I wrote...!