Though many coronavirus-related restrictions across the country have loosened, the National Park Service announced on Thursday that the annual Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. will not take place this year.
“Logistics and planning limitations” related to COVID-19 made it impossible to fully organize the groups who travel to the nation’s capital to march in the event, according to the service.
“We are unable to stage a successful event without the excitement and sound provided by these high school bands, drill teams and other youth organizations,” spokesperson Mike Litterst said in the statement.
The service also canceled the parade in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but former President Donald Trump held a “Salute to America” event instead, featuring fireworks and military flyovers.
President Joe Biden had said earlier this year “by July the fourth there’s a good chance, you, your families and friends, will be able to get together in your backyards, or in your neighborhoods, and have a cookout or a BBQ and celebrate Independence Day.” His comments came during his announcement that states should make all adults eligible for a vaccine on May 1, a deadline since moved to April 19.
The president also said this didn’t mean large groups should get together for the holiday. The decision to cancel the 2021 National Independence Day Parade seems to follow this guidance.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia in Congress, expressed her disappointment with what she calls a “premature” decision by the park service.
“I would not expect the cancellation to take place almost three months ahead of July 4. I can only imagine it’s for a need for people to prepare for the parade,” said the congresswoman. “In that case, it’s understandable but with the vaccine spreading so rapidly it’s very disappointing.”
She hopes there will still be some sort of commemoration this year in the capital.
“We share everyone’s disappointment in this decision,” said Litterst, “and look forward to presenting this red, white and blue celebration of America’s birthday again on July 4, 2022.”
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