(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners from Rhode Island and Massachusetts were invited to be a part of the 229th Independence Day parade on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island – the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in America. Prior to the celebration, there was a warning of the approach of Hurricane Arthur. Nevertheless, the parade continued and the enthusiasm of the crowd remained.

Falun Gong practitioners take part in the 2014 Rhode Island Independence Day Parade in Bristol

As the only Chinese group in the parade, Falun Dafa practitioners presented the peaceful exercises, a decorated float with practitioners dressed as “celestial maidens,” and a waist drum team to honor this celebration of freedom and democracy.

The core principles of Falun Dafa, Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance, were displayed on the float. One man pointed to the banner and said, “This brings enlightenment.”

The practitioners' entry celebrated the freedom enjoyed in the United States, and was also a “thank-you” to Rhode Island residents and event organizers for their support in the ongoing efforts to bring about a peaceful end to the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China.

Spectators along the parade route cheered, applauded and called out “Falun Dafa!” and “Falun Gong!” to show their support.

Toward the end of the parade, heavy rain began coming down. However, this did not dampen the spirits of the parade participants or the audience. The Falun Dafa practitioners continued to cheerfully greet the spectators, as they stayed to enjoy the parade from underneath umbrellas or tents.

As the Falun Gong procession marched past the reviewing stand, the Master of Ceremonies announced, “Falun Dafa celebrates America’s Independence with Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. We could all learn something from them. They are still smiling!”