Washington, DC: Practitioners Participate in the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On April 8, 2006, the 94th National Cherry Blossom Festival grand parade was held in Washington, DC. Practitioners in the DC area have participated in this parade for the last seven consecutive years. Many overseas Chinese and Western spectators witnessed the peaceful and harmonious nature of the practitioners, and the beauty of Falun Dafa.
On April 8, it was chilly and drizzling. However, the more than one hundred groups that gathered on Constitution Avenue preparing for the parade were still excited. At 10:00 a.m., the parade stepped off along Constitution Avenue. Well-decorated floats, marching bands and colorful giant inflated figures were still the highlights of the parade this year. ABC-TV and other mainstream media aired the parade live.
Practitioners have been in the procession for seven consecutive years. Their float for this year was the most beautifully decorated yet. A huge pink lotus flower blossomed on top of the float, the pedals delicately made of transparent gauze, while the green lotus leaves were embroidered with the golden words, "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" in both Chinese and English. The three-level float was decorated with pink lotus flowers, yellow flowers and green leaves. The design looked so refreshing.
In the flowers in the front of the float, two practitioners wearing golden exercise suits sat in the lotus position, demonstrating the Falun Gong meditation exercise. Six young women practitioners in costumes decorated with plum flowers danced gracefully to the music on the float. They were like the pure lotus flower, which blooms so beautifully out of the mud, or the plum blossom in winter. The practitioners' peace and harmony in the rain and wind displayed the power of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance."
According to practitioner Ms. Ge Min, they first participated in the parade in April 1999, right before the persecution of Falun Gong began. This was their seventh time to be invited to the event. Over the past seven years, the Chinese Communist regime has conducted a massive persecution, utilizing all its evil methods against Falun Gong practitioners. The practitioners' harmonious and excellent performances deeply impressed the parade organizers each year and the practitioners are well accepted by people of different ethnicities.
Residents of nearby Maryland and Virginia around Washington, DC watched the practitioners' procession via live TV broadcast. Many Chinese and Westerners told each other about it.
In recent years, Falun Gong practitioners have actively participated in community events. They have merged into the diversified society of freedom, and are well received by all circles. Little by little, American society has come to understand and appreciate Falun Gong's teaching of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" better and better. But people still can't imagine that such a peaceful group, whose practice is so widely accepted in more than 70 countries in the world, is suffering brutal persecution in China.
Seeing the practitioners' beautiful performance in the parade, an elderly couple from Hubei Province, China, in America visiting relatives, were indignant at the Chinese Communist regime's persecution of practitioners.
A parade participant, Ms. Wang, said that she recalled a verse in the "Poem of the Plum Blossom:" "Don't worry about the storms that last overnight." She said that even though the brutal persecution was just like "the storms that last overnight," practitioners' steadiness and persistence in opposing the persecution frightened the persecutors and awakened the world's people. People witnessed the power of truth in their hearts. No matter how brutal the evil persecution is, or how harsh the cold winter is, all these will eventually be gone and light will break through the darkness.
Ms. Ge Min said, "On the occasion of the Cherry Blossom Festival, which symbolizes peace and friendship, we hope that the knowledge of Falun Dafa will bring health and good fortune to all kind-hearted people."