(Minghui.org) July 4, 2021 is America’s 245th Independence Day. This year's celebrations were especially joyous for Wheaton, as it reinstated its traditional Independence Day celebrations after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus restrictions were lifted. Falun Dafa practitioners in the greater Chicago area as well as the surrounding areas participated in Wheaton’s Independence Day parade.

Mr. Chen, a practitioner who lives in Wheaton, said, “The residents know about Falun Dafa. Mayor Philip Suess issued a citation in May this year to honor World Falun Dafa Day.”

Falun Dafa practitioners from the greater Chicago and surrounding areas participated in Wheaton’s Independence Day parade.

The theme of this year’s event is “Celebrate Our Freedom!” According to a notice on the city council’s website: “July 4 is not only a celebration of our nation’s independence and a special day in America’s history, but a celebration of our freedom. It commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Every year, Americans honor the 4th of July as the birthday of the United States with firework shows, parades, and backyard barbecues, while reflecting on our great nation with loved ones. We all missed these celebrations in 2020 and are excited to bring them back for the community this year.”

July 4, 2021, was a bright, sunny day, and downtown Wheaton was adorned with thousands of U.S. flags. Residents set up tables and chairs along both sides of the parade route early that day, waiting for the parade to begin.

Falun Dafa practitioners made a spectacular parade debut with colorful banners carrying the messages: “Falun Dafa is good”, “Falun Dafa teaches Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance” at the forefront, followed by a traditional Chinese drum performance, exercise demonstration, and a float. Spectators applauded and cheered enthusiastically. Some even clapped along to the music and drum beats, while others took photos and video recordings to remember the beautiful moments.

Practitioners demonstrated the exercise movements on the float.

Jasha Sommer-Simpson, a Falun Dafa practitioner, sat on the float showing people the exercise movements. He felt encouraged by their enthusiastic response. He said, “Many people clapped, waved and smiled at us. There were also many who followed us in doing the exercises. I am delighted to be able to celebrate the 4th of July with everyone. It feels wonderful.”

George Sifnotis, a Wheaton resident who watched the parade, told a practitioner, “Your float is exquisite. Everyone is smiling. They looked happy and I am glad to see this. It is truly a wonderful day.”

Ms. Xiao, who helped to coordinate the Falun Dafa entry, said, “Falun Dafa teaches the universal values of ‘Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance’. It guides one to be a good person. Those who practice it experience physical and mental health improvements. Practitioners are thrilled to be here and show people the beauty of Falun Dafa.”

Many spectators took photos with the float and accepted the brochures handed out by practitioners.

Joseph Brandon volunteered as a security guard for the day’s activities. He said that he loved the Falun Dafa float and appreciated the opportunity to learn about the practice.

Joseph Brandon, who volunteered as a security guard for the parade, took a photo next to the Falun Dafa float.

The float and team from the Wheaton Sport Center walked behind the practitioners. They were very interested in learning about the practice and criticized the Chinese Communist Party for covering up the CCP virus and causing great loss of life globally.

The team from Wheaton Sport Center signed the petition to call for an end to the persecution of practitioners in China.

Sydney is a member of the Chi-city Tumblers. Many of the young team members are agile and keen to learn Falun Dafa. They also censured the CCP for its persecution of practitioners in China.

Sydney (left) takes a photo holding a brochure on Falun Gong.

Parade-goers sign a petition to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Dafa.

Mr. and Mrs. Soeldner were engrossed in reading the flier on Falun Gong while waiting for the parade to begin.

Nate knows a lot about China and has been to Shandong Province and the Northeast region. He spoke to practitioners in fluent Chinese, saying that he loves China but not the CCP. He is also very interested in China's traditional culture. He thanked the practitioners for telling him about the persecution and giving him a paper lotus flower.

Nate thanked the practitioners for telling him about Falun Dafa.

A father and his daughter from Myanmar attended the parade. After learning that Falun Dafa's main book, Zhuan Falun, was translated into 40 different languages, the father said that he would search online for it in his native language.

A father and daughter from Myanmar took a photo holding a paper lotus flower.

Originally from Cambodia, Savy said her grandfather was from Hong Kong. She was grateful to receive a flier about Falun Dafa and said that she would definitely read it.

Savy from Cambodia is interested in learning more about Falun Dafa.

Cathy, who teaches Spanish and French, said she loved the Falun Dafa float. She also said she has a friend who teaches Chinese history, so she is aware of the terrible things the CCP has done to Chinese people.

Cathy, who teaches Spanish and French, loved the practitioners' parade entry.

The parade organizers introduced Falun Dafa as practitioners paraded past the stage. The coordinator said, “Today’s exercise demonstration displayed the core principles of the practice ‘Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance’. I think everyone should live by these principles every day.”

Chinese version available

Category: Parades & Other Community Events