(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners were once again invited to participate in the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade held in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Saturday, November 18, 2023. Their joyous waist drum performances and peaceful exercise demonstrations showcased the beauty of Falun Dafa.
The Thanksgiving parade in Silver Spring is the only Thanksgiving parade in the Washington, DC, metro area. The parade drew over 10,000 people from Silver Spring and the surrounding areas as well as Maryland government officials. More than 100 organizations participated in the popular annual event.
The practitioners’ contingent included a float and waist drum team. Two young practitioners sat on the float demonstrating the Falun Dafa exercises. People clapped and cheered in time to the waist drum team’s performances. People along the route saw the banners emblazoned with “Falun Dafa” and “The World Needs Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance,” and seemed pleased to receive the practitioners’ fliers.
This year’s parade was emceed by Eileen Whelan, the First Alert meteorologist at 7News. The two-hour parade was also televised live on News Channel 8, a regional cable news television channel broadcasting 24/7. The parade will be rerun on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2023.
Parade Emcee: The Exercises and Profound Teachings of Falun Dafa Are Moving
When practitioners marched past the main stage, emcee Eileen Whelan announced: “Up next we have the serene and uplifting presence of Falun Dafa.
“Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a traditional, Eastern form enhancing the mind, body and spirit, through four sets of gentle standing exercises and a sitting meditation. Rooted in the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, Falun Dafa brings a myriad of benefits to those who embrace its practice. Individuals who regularly engage in practicing Falun Dafa report improvement in both physical and mental health, reduced stress and anxiety, increased energy and vitality, inner peace, and a strengthened sense of morality. Since it was publicly taught in China by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992, Falun Dafa has spread its positive influence to over 100 countries, with the teachings translated in more than 40 languages.”
Eileen Whelan also told the audience, “Everyone, please be prepared to be moved by the graceful exercise movements and the profound philosophy encapsulated in the practice of Falun Dafa!”
Later she told practitioners, “I felt very much at ease and very peaceful as you guys marched past me.”
Agreeing with Falun Dafa’s Principles
Keith Cyphers brought his entire family from Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, to the parade. He said that Lorig Charkoudian, who is a Maryland state delegate, was a good friend of his wife, and they came to see her in the parade.
Keith said he saw Falun Dafa practitioners in a parade several years ago, and he was delighted to see them again in this parade, “I love them. I think they are great! Their float looks cool, and I like the vibe they give off.”
Keith affirmed, “Right on! Very good,” when he read the banner that said, “The World Needs Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.”
Impressed by Falun Dafa
Anabela and Emily read the flier the practitioners were handing out and said they were interested in meditation.
Anabela, who teaches at a local school, said, “They [the Falun Dafa practitioners] left a deep impression on me because some of the waist drummers look older than I but they appear to be in a better mental state than me. They look so happy.”
Emily said, “Although the surroundings are so noisy, the practitioners on the float demonstrating the exercises are able to be so focused. I read on the flier that the practice is based on Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. This is just what everyone needs now.”
Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance Is Important
Rosa and her daughter took in the parade together. Rosa said she loved Falun Dafa. “It actually gives a sense of calm and harmony. They are beautiful, and their yellow costumes are so bright.”
Rosa read the Falun Dafa flier and said, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is important. We should remember this in our hearts.”
Mr. Taylor kept clapping and cheering when he saw practitioners. He said he lives in Silver Spring and often sees practitioners doing the exercises in the city center. He said, “I loved the message on the banner—Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. It brings people peace.”
Rafi brought his two children to see the parade. It was the first time he’d seen Falun Dafa practitioners and said, “This group is great. They are peaceful. I loved the bright colors and their message: Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.”
Ms. Jenis Saffiogi from New York said she’d never seen Falun Dafa before. “It’s amazing—it was a wonderful experience seeing Falun Dafa in the parade.” She said she would search for more information about the practice online when she returned home.
Silver Spring resident Joanne and her friend loved seeing Falun Dafa practitioners in the parade. She said, “It was great! I loved their bright colors and positive energy.”
Jane and her daughter’s family watched the parade together. Jane said, “I love Falun Dafa practitioners in the parade. I loved the waist drum performance. I’d like to meditate.”
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