How to Celebrate Independence Day During the Coronavirus

Gerald Lombardo
Posted by Gerald Lombardo
Updated on
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Published in Things To Do

Independence Day is coming up this Saturday and many are wondering how they can celebrate while still practicing safe social distancing

Watch on TV

Many cities have canceled their festivities, and with that, the main draw: fireworks. But some are moving forward. Your best, and safest, bet is to watch either in your backyard or on a TV or computer screen. No, it won’t be as good as the real thing. But it’s a small price to pay for your health and safety.

In New York City, Macy’s fireworks show, a spectacle that usually beckons residents to rooftops and parks on July 4, will take place on several unspecified nights from Monday through the holiday, with each display lasting only five minutes. They will be set off from unannounced locations across the five boroughs — a strategy meant to prevent New Yorkers from congregating in public spaces. A special presentation featuring a recap of the fireworks will be televised nationally on July 4 at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

Fireworks will light up Washington during “A Capital Fourth.” The event traditionally takes place on the West Lawn of the Capitol, but this year viewers are encouraged to watch from home. The presentation features recorded performances by stars such as Patti LaBelle and Renée Fleming; the actors John Stamos and Vanessa Williams will host. Tune in to PBS, PBS.org, Facebook or YouTube at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Take a virtual tour of national landmarks.

If you typically take this time to visit monuments or educate your children about American history, the internet has plenty of resources. The website Architect’s Virtual Capitol is an immersive look at the heart of federal government. Choose from several videos about the history of the National Capitol, a virtual walking tour of its campus or an interactive map of other key sites in Washington.

Watch a movie about the country’s founding.

If you prefer a dose of drama with your history lesson, settle in for a movie night. And if you have a backyard and a projector, you can set up an outdoor theater and catch the fireworks as an intermission.

A live recording of “Hamilton,” the acclaimed Broadway musical from the writer and its star Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the director Thomas Kail, arrives on Disney Plus on Friday.

Or “1776,” a 1972 movie that is also based on a musical, follows the debates at the Second Continental Congress that led to the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence. (Mr. Miranda has said that “1776” paved the way for “Hamilton.”) Stream it free on Pluto TV, or rent or buy it on AmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVudu or YouTube

Revisit the Declaration of Independence.

For the past 50 years, the National Archives in Washington has hosted a reading ceremony of the Declaration on its museum’s steps. This year, the event is moving to its website and Facebook page. The reading starts at 4 p.m. Eastern and is hosted by the broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien

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