From around the world and right down the street, people sporting their best red, white, and blue flocked to Boston’s historic sights on Tuesday to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Holiday events included an Independence Day parade from City Hall Plaza, a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House, and a 21-gun salute in Charlestown Navy Yard.
“So far, the reading of the Declaration of Independence was my highlight,” said Brian Wenning, who was visiting from Indiana with his wife Patti. “That was where it was very first read (in Boston) in 1776, and we got to see that re-enactment — I thought that was the best.”
Wenning said he and his wife are celebrating their anniversary, and chose Boston as the perfect destination for thenation’s birthday.
“To me, it’s the birth of our nation’s freedom here in Boston,” Wenning said. “It kind of takes you back to those roots, and you get to experience that freedom in the birthplace — it’s unusual to get to be able to do that for us.”
“I’m sure for the people who live here, it’s just second nature,” added Patti Wenning. “But to someone who lives farther away, it’s just a really neat thing to experience.”
Some sightseers, like Jan Quiram from Jamaica Plain, were playing tourist for the day.
“Forty-four years I’ve been in Boston, and I’ve never come downtown (for the Fourth),” she said.
After spending the morning on a walking tour with friends, Quiram ended up in Charlestown Navy Yard, where the crew of the USS Constitution fired cannons as a part of a 21-gun salute.
The North End was Quiram’s favorite part of the tour, while her friend Cristina Necula enjoyed the walk from the State House and the historic sights along the way.
“Where else can you be on the Fourth of July if not Boston?” Necula said, a Boston resident who isoriginally from Romania.
After the tour, a cookout was on tap. What could be more American than that?
“Actually, we’re having soft-shell tacos and root beer floats,” she said. “But they’re having a traditional cookout,” she added, nodding to Necula.
Zhenya Razumovskazaand Sasha Eremina, visiting from Russia, spent the day seeing the city along the Freedom Trail.
“In different countries, such days as Independence Day or any kind of patriotic holidays have different vibes,” Eremina said after taking a picture of the Old South Meeting House. “Having lived in different countries, we have experienced different attitudes toward those days, and it’s interesting to see how people feel about it in America.”
Razumovskazasaid the city had an upbeat feel, and it was clear from all of the flag-waving and colorful outfits that people enjoyed celebrating their patriotism.
Michael Crocker, from Portland, Ore., said celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston had a deeply historic feel.
“From a West Coast perspective, we celebrate, and it’s rodeos and things like that,” Crocker said. “But it lacks some of the context.”
Crocker, who was visiting with his daughters, said they had all learned a lot about the country’s history throughout the day.
Crocker pointed to the circle of stone meant to mark the site of the Boston Massacre by the Old State House, and said that they learned the actual incident happened by what is now the interestion of State and Congress Streets.
“We would have never known that if we hadn’t come here,” he said.Kiana Cole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @kianamcole.