Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we will offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback.
It was a startling series of sounds, contemporary sounds that shattered the carefully established 1776 vibe. First came the screeching of police sirens, followed by a line of uniformed DC policemen on motorcycles rapidly turning the corner at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street. In these cautionary 21st Century times of terror, many in the huge crowd outside the National Archives on this July 4th morning turned nervously toward the noise. "Get to the right, get to the right," one of the officers shouted.
The din silenced the colonial Abigail Adams reenactor who had been sharing a dramatic reading of The Declaration of Independence with a Revolutionary clad George Washington. But in a matter of seconds, the wariness turned to cheers as the crowd discovered the reason for the interruption. The officers were escorting 4 large red-and-white Budweiser Clydesdale trucks which had transported the famous horses to DC to participate in a parade that was to follow the annual Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony. "Yeah, America; Yeah Bud," the American-flag shirted man next to me hollered, getting part of the crowd to join him in the cheer.
|The crowd responds|
Prior to the reading, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero explained the history of one of America's most historic documents. The original copy of the Declaration, written on parchment, was saved by the quick action of a civil servant when the British burned Washington in 1812. It remained in Washington until the start of World War II, when it was placed in the vaults at Fort Knox for extra protection. After the war, it was housed at the Library of Congress until it was brought to the Archives in 1952, where it has remained on public view ever since.
|The Revolutionary colors|
The ceremony began with a presentation of the colors and a powerful acapella rendition of "The National Anthem" by the United Air Force Band singers. There was also a performance of colonial period music by the 3rd U.S. Infantry "The Old Guard" Fife and Drum Corps which concluded with an updated version of "Yankee Doodle."
Everybody Loves a Red-White-and-Blue Parade
|Patriotism and picture taking were the order of the day|
|Lady Liberty gets ready to ride through the streets of Washington|
|Nothing says Happy Birthday America like the DC Rollergirls|
|This Eagle of Freedom is ready to soar|
|Here are the Clydesdales whose transport trucks caused all that initial confusion|
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. We should all return periodically to reread (or, in some cases, read for the 1st time) these and all words from the document which created the country we now have today. Click here to do just that.