US marks July 4 with fireworks, revelry - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

US marks July 4 with fireworks, revelry

NEW YORK - Americans across the country mixed patriotism and plain old good fun to mark Independence Day on Friday, with solemn ceremony alternating with parades and hot-dog-eating hijinks.

On the 232nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Boy Scouts in Hartford, Conn., rang a replica of the Liberty Bell, while organizers of the annual New York fireworks display promised the rockets' red glare would be better than ever.

Near Kissimmee, Fla., a wounded bald eagle, the national bird, was flying free after spending more than two months rehabilitating from a fight with another eagle. It was freed Thursday in Lake Tohopekaliga, the heart of Florida's eagle country.

In Boston, the 211-year-old USS Constitution, the Navy's oldest commissioned warship, was the backdrop Friday morning as two dozen people were sworn in as U.S. citizens.

Vice President Dick Cheney greeted the new Americans and later, in a second ceremony, administered the re-enlistment oath to a group of servicemen.

The Hartford ceremony was among several similar events being held across the country Friday by a group known as Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Thirteen peals, one for each of the original colonies, rang out from a replica Liberty Bell at the State Capitol.

Some locales, including Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, started the holiday weekend early, with fireworks displays on Thursday night. In Monticello, Ill., authorities said nine people were treated for ringing in the ears or other minor injuries Thursday after two stray shells from a fireworks display landed in a crowd.

North Carolina's two major military bases planned big events to honor troops. Country star Wynonna Judd was to perform at Fort Bragg, and the Marines were hosting her contemporary Lee Ann Womack at Camp Lejeune.

The severity of a nearby wildfire prompted the cancellation of a fireworks display in Santa Barbara County, Calif. Communities across the parched state called off similar events because of fears that they could start fires.

A daredevil planned to walk 2,000 feet across a cable suspended high off the ground in a Cincinnati-area amusement park Friday night. Rick Wallenda is the grandson of Karl Wallenda, patriarch of the "Flying Wallendas" high-wire act, who fell to his death trying to walk a cable in Puerto Rico in 1974.

After dark, more than 3 million people were expected to attend the nation's largest fireworks display along New York's East River, moved south this year so onlookers would get a better view of the city skyline.

Organizers said this year's show, will include new nautical fireworks that float on the water. Other new shells will go through multiple transformations after they launch, providing four different effects.

And it wouldn't be July Fourth without the annual hot dog eating competition at Coney Island in New York. This year was another heartbreaker for longtime champion Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan.

He was trying to reclaim his title after a disappointing three-dog loss last year to Californian Joey Chestnut shattered his six-year winning streak. But it was not to be: Chestnut made it two wins in a row, beating Kobayashi in a tiebreaker.

Powered by Frankly