New York : Americans celebrate July Fourth with a bang after pandemic cancellations.

Americans marked their 245th birthday on Sunday with fire works that may look brighter, hot dogs that may taste juicer and marching bands that may sound jauntier after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellations of nearly all celebrations last year.

As always, firework displays are the highlight of the July Fourth holiday. Two of the biggest pyrotechnic shows in the country will blast off over the National Mall in Washington and, and over a mile stretch of New York's East River, separating Manhattan from the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.

Sole classic July Fourth events such as Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn's Coney Island remained scaled back to allow for social distancing in recognition of  the continued threat of Covid-19, which has killed more than 600,000  Americans.

The more aggressive Delta variant has raised alarms about the potential for another surge among the unvaccinated.

Even so, the holiday was a time for Americans to show their patriotism and to celebrate a fresh sense of freedom in a personal sense by mingling with friends once again and enjoying summer's simple pleasure.

But this year's July Fourth was not entirely carefree. The US Department of Homeland Security warned state and local police last week of a heightened threat of violence by domestic extremist groups amid relaxed Covid-19 restrictions and the July Fourth holiday. [Reuters]


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