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Troubled US tries to celebrate a 4th of July marred by parade shootings | lifestyles

By BOBBY CAINA CALVAN and KATHLEEN FOODY – Associated Press

Police also said two dozen other people were hospitalized after the Highland Park shooting. Authorities asked residents to take shelter on the spot while they hunt down a suspect.

The parade started around 10:00 am but was suddenly stopped 10 minutes later after gunshots were fired. Hundreds of parade-goers – some visibly bloody – fled the parade route, leaving behind chairs, strollers and blankets.

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“On a day when we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we instead mourn the tragic loss of life and grapple with the terror that has been brought upon us,” said Nancy Rotering, Mayor of Highland Park.

News of yet another mass shooting came as the nation tried to find a reason to celebrate its founding and the ties that still bind it together. It should be a day to call time off, flock to parades, devour hot dogs and burgers at backyard grills, and gather under a canopy of stars and exploding fireworks.

“July 4th is a holy day in our country – it’s a time to celebrate the goodness of our nation, the only nation on earth founded on one idea: that all men are created equal,” President tweeted Joe Biden on Monday before. “Make no mistake, our best days are yet to come.”

But the Highland Park shooting left a chaotic, discordant Fourth of July scene.

Video taken by a Chicago Sun-Times reporter after the shooting showed a band on a float playing on while people ran screaming by. Parade-goer Gina Troiani told The Associated Press she fled through a neighborhood on her 5-year-old son’s bicycle, adorned with red and blue ruffled ribbons, to get away from the parade route.

At first she thought the loud noises were fireworks – until she heard people yelling over a gunman.

These are precarious times: An economic recession lurks, and the Highland Park shooting will weigh on a national psyche already raw from mass shootings like those seen recently at a Texas elementary school and a supermarket in New York.

Sharp social and political divisions have also been exposed by recent Supreme Court decisions, which overturned constitutional abortion rights and struck down a New York law restricting who can carry a gun in public.

“Independence Day doesn’t feel like a grand celebration when our basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are at stake,” New York Attorney General Tish James, a Democrat, tweeted. “Today I encourage you to imagine what this nation could be if we lived up to our values.”

However, many had a reason to gather and celebrate for the first time in three years while coronavirus precautions were eased.

Nathan’s famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest returned to its traditional location in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood after two years elsewhere thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s wonderful to be back,” Joey “Jaws” Chestnut told ESPN in front of a crowd of viewers after winning the men’s competition by downing 63 hot dogs and buns.

Women’s record holder Miki Sudo munched 40 sausages and buns to win her event.

Baltimore also resumed its Independence Day celebrations Monday after a two-year hiatus, to the delight of residents like Kirstan Monroe.

“I’m excited to see downtown coming together again the way it’s meant to be,” she told WBAL-TV.

Colorful displays, big and small, were set to light up the night sky in cities from New York to Seattle to Chicago to Dallas. However, others, particularly in drought-stricken and wildfire-prone western regions, will forgo it.

Phoenix is ​​also again forgoing fireworks — not because of the pandemic or fire concerns, but because of supply chain issues.

In emotional ceremonies across the country, some will take civic oaths that will qualify them to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

During a naturalization ceremony at Mount Vernon, home of George Washington in Virginia, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told 52 people, originally from 42 different countries, that they were essential to building a strong workforce.

“Immigrants are strengthening our workforce while helping drive the resilience and vitality of our economy,” Yellen said in a note prepared for Monday’s event.

For many, July 4th was also an opportunity to put political differences aside and celebrate unity by reflecting on the revolution that produced the longest-lasting democracy in history.

“There is always something that can divide us or unite us,” says Eli Merritt, a political historian at Vanderbilt University whose upcoming book will chronicle the troubled founding of the United States in 1776.

But he sees the Jan. 6 hearings investigating last year’s storming of the US Capitol as a reason for hope, an opportunity to stand behind democratic institutions. While not all Americans or their elected officials agree with the committee’s work, Merritt is heartened by the fact that it is at least somewhat bipartisan, and some Republicans agree.

“Couragement as a place for Americans to be hopeful, a willingness to stand up for what is right and true in the face of negative consequences for oneself,” he said. “This is an essential glue of constitutional democracy.”

Associated Press reporter Fatima Hussein provided coverage from Washington.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

Troubled US tries to celebrate a 4th of July marred by parade shootings | lifestyles

Source link Troubled US tries to celebrate a 4th of July marred by parade shootings | lifestyles

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