Philadelphia: Falun Gong Practitioners Join Independence Day Celebration (Photos)

By a Dafa practitioner in Philadelphia

(Clearwisdom.net) On July 4, 2009, a grand parade celebrating freedom was held in Philadelphia. The celebration took place near Independence Hall. Around a hundred groups and close to 3,000 people participated in the parade and it drew tens of thousands of local people and tourists. The Falun Gong contingent had the most people among all the entries.

At 11:00 a.m., the parade started at the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. There were floats, dance teams and marching bands. The parade moved along Market Street and turned to Front Street.

The Falun Gong contingent received a warm reception. Over 100 practitioners formed the Divine Land Marching Band and Waist Drum Team. The bright-blue ancient Chinese music officers’ costumes of the Divine Land Marching Band formed a strong contrast with the Drum Team’s golden outfits. The sounds of the two groups mixed together and created a magnificent effect. The Divine Land Marching Band played music such as “Falun Dafa is Good”, “Buddha Mercy Sacred Music”, and “Fa Rectifies the Universe”. The two groups received warm applause and cheers wherever they were.

Falun Gongs Divine Land Marching Band participates in the celebration of the 233th birthday of the America. Members of the Band walk on Market Street.

Falun Gong's Divine Land Marching Band participates in the celebration of the 233th birthday of the America. Members of the Band walk on Market Street.

Many audience members stood on tiptoes or climbed to high spots in order to see or take pictures of the two Falun Dafa groups. When Falun Dafa’s entry was on Third Street, a spectator in a formal guard suit saluted practitioners.

“Unforgettable!” a Chinese student studying at the University of Pennsylvania said. “The costumes were especially impressive.”

Ms. Wang is from Jiangsu, China. “It’s hard to see such a grand parade in China. Falun Gong’s entry makes Chinese people proud!”

The Divine Land Marching Band participates in the celebration of the 233th birthday of the America. The band members march in front of the Independence Hall.

The Divine Land Marching Band participates in the celebration of the 233th birthday of the America. The band members march in front of the Independence Hall.

Two young men from China had traveled to the US. They were shocked, “Falun Gong is quite different from what we see in the news in China.”

Mr. Wang, a Falun Gong practitioner who just came from China, was very emotional upon seeing the Falun Gong parade, “A Falun Gong parade entry would never happen in China. One will get arrested for doing Falun Gong exercises in a park, let alone a large parade. Here I see practitioners form marching bands walking on the street with bright-colored clothes and so many people are clapping and cheering for them– I can’t help but cry.”

The Falun Dafa Waist Drum Team participates in the celebration of the 233th birthday of the America. The members march in front of Independence Hall.

The Falun Dafa Waist Drum Team participates in the celebration of the 233th birthday of the America. The members march in front of Independence Hall.

This was the first time Ms. Wang saw such a parade. “In a free democratic country like the US, seeing the people’s attitude toward Falun Gong, I think everyone from China will ponder and awaken.” Five of Ms. Wang’s family members practice Falun Gong. Three of them were arrested last year and one is still in jail.

In the afternoon, The Divine Land Marching Band gave two performances on Franklin Square near Chinatown and on Independence Square. Two photographers from out of town were drawn to the Band and took many pictures. One of them was exhilarated, “What a surprise! I get to see such a marvelous performance!”

Many audience members came up to take photos with the Band. Some of them danced to the rhythm of the music. Many of them read carefully the Falun Dafa fliers handed to them.

Audience welcomes the performance of the Falun Dafa Divine Land Marching Band.

Audience welcomes the performance of the Falun Dafa Divine Land Marching Band.

After the performance, many people still lingered around, not willing to leave. Mark, park manager of the Franklin Square said, “Terrific, I hope they can come back next year.”

On the north side of the Independence Hall, a westerner, after learning that all members of the Band were practitioners, cried “I know Falun Gong. They always exercise in front of Independence Hall. Where can I learn the movements? I want to learn Falun Gong too!”

Posting date: 7/8/2009
Original article date: 7/7/2009
Category: Falun Dafa Worldwide

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