Dover celebrates the Fourth of July

DOVER — Nothing unites more than a gigantic birthday celebration, if only for a short time.

Larry Thomas and his family strolled around The Green on Fourth of July morning, relishing another Independence Day.
“This day centers around the beginning, the birth of our country so everyone shares the same spirit,” the Laurel, Maryland resident said.

“With so much turmoil these days it’s nice to at least have this time to come together and celebrate as one.”
Kyle Thomas, 15, joined his grandparents Thursday as the late-morning temperature inched toward 90 degrees, anticipating the hours ahead.
“I want to see the fireworks and watch how everyone reacts,” he said. “I want to hear the music, see all the cars, the flags, the colors, how people dress.”

Visiting Dover for the first time, Ron and Michelle Malcolm traveled from Northern Virginia after a Google search highlighted the city’s planned schedule of events.
According to Mrs. Malcolm, “From what we could see online, Dover looked like a nice place.”
Mr. Malcolm explained that “We like to explore our country and it’s definitely nice to see Dover and its historical appeal.
“We came to visit all the sites here, watch the parade and fireworks and then enjoy some valuable hotel air condition time.”

Nicole Rogers, 23, dressed in a colonial outfit for the first time and waited inside the Old Courthouse, ready to answer any questions while in character straight out of 1776.
“I’ve had a passion for history since high school and am looking to have fun,” Ms. Rogers said. “I’m here to have fun and I want to give it to them as well.”

DAFB Honor Guard marching in the parade.

Less than a month into an assignment at Dover Air Force Base, Frank and Abby Rice pushed a stroller and guided their 2- and 6-year old sons, soaking in the newfound local culture.
“We’re here in what was one of the first colonies, the first states,” Mrs. Rice said.

“Where we came from there was nothing like that.
“This is something we can show them that they wouldn’t otherwise experience.”

Everyone pretty happy
Delaware Store manager Tom Smith passed out Caesar Rodney postcards as visitors drifted in and out.
He said locals often bring out of area relatives and friends with them.
“Generally speaking everyone is pretty happy to be here,” Mr. Smith said.
“It’s sort of a giant birthday party that everyone can participate in and say ‘This is my country,’ “
With a lawnchair on her shoulder Donna Braswell was one of the first arrivals to The Green.

“The Declaration of Independence and this day was when God brought people together to form a more perfect union and provide opportunity to run a democracy the right way,” she said.
“We’re not there yet but at least headed in the right direction.”
Carrying on a decade-long tradition Susan Emory and Tom Pulmano were set to read the Declaration of Independence on the Old Courthouse following the National Bell Ringing ceremony at 2 p.m.

“Being an American it’s an honor to do this,” Mr. Pulmano said. “ I look forward to it every year because this exact spot was such an integral part of our history.
“You see people with the opportunity to do this at places like Constitutional Hall in Philadelphia but to do it here in the small state of Delaware is a treat.”

Ms. Emory can’t say for sure, but she believes the folks back in 1776 “were probably excited but also a little scared of being newly independent.
“I would guess there was a huge crowd here with a lot of celebrating going on.”

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