(Minghui.org) This year's Independence Day celebrations in Glenside, Pennsylvania, were especially meaningful and joyous. Falun Dafa practitioners were invited to participate in Glenside's Grand, Glorious, Patriotic Parade, which started in 1904 and is one of the longest-running 4th of July parades in the United States.

It was drizzling as the parade set off, but the sun soon banished the clouds. Thousands of people participating in the city's day-long celebrations lined the parade route. The practitioners' waist drum performances were greeted with warm applause. Some spectators waved to practitioners and called out, “Falun Dafa hao!” (“Falun Dafa is good” in Chinese).

Practitioners play the waist drums during the Independence Day Parade in Glenside, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 2021

Celebration of Freedom Especially Poignant

Ms. Zhang Yuwei was especially happy to participate in the waist drum team to celebrate America's Independence Day. She appreciates the freedom to practice her spiritual belief, Falun Dafa, after her family was persecuted in China.

Ms. Zhang vividly recalls the day her family left China. Both she and her husband were persecuted and their home was repeatedly ransacked by the police. She explained that this was why Independence Day, which celebrates America's freedoms, has special meaning for her. “I am able to freely practice my belief here and other people are also free to practice theirs. But in China, the police can barge in at any time. Plus, they monitor everything.”

She said that is why she wants to give back to the community by sharing the beauty of Falun Dafa. She wants people to know that Falun Dafa is a peaceful meditation system based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began persecuting the spiritual practice in July 1999, causing tragedy for millions of families.

Ms. Tan Xiaorong, another member of the waist drum group, is a data analyst in Washington D.C. She said the event went very well. “All along the parade route, people cheered for us. Some of them even called out,Falun Dafa hao,’ which was very encouraging.”

Ms. Tan pointed out the contrast between being invited to participate in a parade in the U.S. and the situation in China, where practitioners have been targeted with violence and hate propaganda for 22 years. While studying for her Ph.D., she was arrested and sent to a labor camp for her belief.

“It's a place where you can lose everything at any moment, including your job, assets, safety, and even your life,” she said. “That is why I am glad to be here telling people what Falun Dafa is so that more people will reject the CCP for its human rights violations and lies.”

Chinese version available

Category: Parades & Other Community Events