Photos: How the Utahns celebrated Independence Day


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After a year of rest and with little reason to celebrate, the Utahns gathered on Monday to applaud, parade and attend Independence Day celebrations.

At the Freedom Festival in Provo, colorful parade floats took to the streets and Utah Valley University cheerleaders and other performers made their way along the route to applause from onlookers, many of them under pop-up tents. Former Governor Gary Herbert gave a boost and his wife, Jeanette Herbert, a wave of a Forde Model T limousine as the grand marshals of the parade.

In Salt Lake City, many gathered to watch a troop of men dressed as Revolutionary War soldiers at a flag-raising ceremony held by the Utah Society Sons of the American Revolution at This is the Place Heritage Park.

A reenactor with the Color Guard drummed and another wielded a bayonet in a display that was not possible last year due to the pandemic. The chance to perform again this holiday was “wonderful,” said Douglas McGregor, vice president of the Utah chapter of the national group.

“As soon as we heard the governor’s announcements and understood that things were relaxing, we realized that we were going to be able to do what we loved to do,” he said with a smile.

Sandy’s Cathy Xu and her two daughters, Eva, 8, and Christina, 6, were among dozens of people who attended the ceremony.

Young girls love to dig for gems and take wagon rides in the park, their mother said. But Xu, a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs who started a family in the United States after emigrating from China, said they had another reason to attend.

“It’s a very unique identity for us to teach them – love my country and love their country – and whenever we have the opportunity to instill in them that sense of identity, we bring them here,” said Xu.

For Claire and Joe Chelladurai of Salt Lake City, the vacation was an opportunity to join in the festivities after being locked into the pandemic.

But the couple remains cautious. They received their shots, but their baby Ian – who attended the historic park celebrations with big eyes and a pacifier – hasn’t had the same opportunity yet.

“It’s trying to manage our urge to go out while trying to choose activities that are always safe for him,” said Claire Chelladurai. “It’s a good example of that, because it’s mostly outside and we don’t necessarily pass it on to everyone.”

Due to fireworks restrictions, the only cannon firing at the park’s all-day celebration fired gunfire into the air for young people to retrieve. Partygoers tied their arms for do-si-dos in an old-fashioned dance lesson and competed in a watermelon

Jim Davis, a park supervisor and master leather craftsman, encouraged several in attendance to remember the sacrifices of the country’s military over the course of approximately 250 years. But he also encouraged them to reflect on the experiences of slaves in the United States and indigenous groups who were here long before the white settlers.

“Everyone made sacrifices to be who we are today,” he said.

How do you celebrate the holidays? Share your photos with us on [email protected] and you can see them in the photo gallery below.

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