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Arts & Culture

Photos: Tradition Bursts Back With July 4th Fireworks Across America

People gather along Main Street to watch fireworks while celebrating Independence Day on July 04, 2021 in Sweetwater, Tennessee.
People gather along Main Street to watch fireworks while celebrating Independence Day on July 04, 2021 in Sweetwater, Tennessee.

This July 4th, freedom rang a little louder than last Independence Day. Well, the fireworks did at least.

Blasts of flashy pyrotechnics across the country marked something of a return to normal, a year after the coronavirus pandemic dampened most Fourth festivities.

But on America's 245th birthday, there was perhaps even more reason to celebrate in the name of freedom. About half of Americans are fully vaccinated against the virus, lockdowns have been lifted and infections remain relatively low in the U.S.

With masks largely shed at Sunday's fireworks displays, the awe spread across spectators' faces was that much more visible.

At the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., officials welcomed back crowds to the National Mall for a viewing of the annual fireworks show. Nearby, President Biden hosted 1,000 medical workers, first responders, essential workers and military members on the South Lawn of the White House to enjoy the same light show.

From sea to shining sea, here's a peek at some of the fireworks shows that dazzled.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, at the National Mall, during the Independence Day celebrations, in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
Jose Luis Magana / AP
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Fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, at the National Mall, during the Independence Day celebrations, in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden view fireworks with granddaughters Finnegan Biden, second from right, and Naomi Biden during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House.
Patrick Semansky / AP
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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden view fireworks with granddaughters Finnegan Biden, second from right, and Naomi Biden during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House.
Independence Day fireworks explode in Sweetwater, Tenn. Cities and towns across the country are resuming Independence Day celebrations after cancelling or holding heavily altered events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scott Olson / Getty Images
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Independence Day fireworks explode in Sweetwater, Tenn. Cities and towns across the country are resuming Independence Day celebrations after cancelling or holding heavily altered events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fireworks from a Fourth of July celebration that kicked off on Saturday silhouette a statue of a Native American scout on a bluff overlooking downtown Kansas City, Mo.
Charlie Riedel / AP
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Fireworks from a Fourth of July celebration that kicked off on Saturday silhouette a statue of a Native American scout on a bluff overlooking downtown Kansas City, Mo.
Spectators watch as fireworks are launched over the East River and the Empire State Building during the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show, Sunday, in the Queens borough of New York City.
John Minchillo / AP
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Spectators watch as fireworks are launched over the East River and the Empire State Building during the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show, Sunday, in the Queens borough of New York City.
Spectators watch the annual Independence Day fireworks display outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia.
Ed Jones / AFP via Getty Images
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Spectators watch the annual Independence Day fireworks display outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia.