July 4th 2018 at Independence Hall
The morning began with the Mattatuck Drum Band out of Waterbury Connecticut with the oldest continuous membership, organized in 1767, reminding us from whence we came.
Tracey Davidson and Bill Henley of Channel 10 hosted the event, with not a cloud in the sky. The umbrella was needed to combat the strong rays of the noontime sun.
Justin Hopkins gave a chilling performance of the Star Spangled Banner. If anyone in the crowd felt compelled to take a knee it would have only been in awe of the Pride in America that resonated from this young mans voice. Of note, I only witnessed hand over heart, it was a compelling moment standing there in front of Independence Hall.
Chaitali Kidd, a sixth grader from the Delaplaine McDaniel School, performed a solo of “Joyful, Joyful” and she was Delightful, Delightful. She was so full of energy on a sweltering morning of the fourth, one of the hottest days of summer in the City of Brotherly Love.
Mayor Kenney presented the 2018 Magis Award to Giana Graves, a 22 year old transgender youth activist for her outstanding work in education and social justice. The Latin word "magis" roughly translates to more universal good.
The City of Philadelphia recognized the Philly Pops along with President and CEO Frank Giordano as the 2018 Welcome America Honoree on their 40th Anniversary year for their work with children in the Philadelphia School District and their contributions Pops in Schools and their military Salute Series.
A nice accompanist was the acknowledgement of the high school students interspersed within the Pops that will soon be attending the University of the Arts with teachers from that school also in the Pops.
The North Philadelphia NOMADS Rugby Team representatives read portions of the Declaration of Independence with dignity and self respect, a clear victory.
The Wawa Hero Award Nominees
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia
- Inn Dwelling
- Philadelphia Fire Department Explorer Youth Program
And the Winner is...............Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia.
and of course a big shout out to Wawa for all it does to contribute to the City of Philadelphia in making the week of the 4th of July Welcome to America.