Photos: The nation celebrates Fourth of July

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by 3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on July 5, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 5 at 11:36 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- In an unusual weather reversal, people in the Valley were worried about rain putting a damper on Fourth of July festivities while people in other parts of the country were dealing with record heat.

The Valley saw cloudy skies, rain, and the lowest Fourth of July temperatures in 100 years. As the evening approached, the rain stopped and thousands of people gathered at various locations to watch some spectacular fireworks shows. The temperature at 9 p.m. was about 80 degrees.

The fireworks display at Tempe Town Lake is one of the biggest in town. It lasted about 35 minutes. The event also featured many other activities, live music and plenty of food.

"We were really worried before we came out here but it's been perfect. The clouds kind of made it a little bit cooler so it's been really great," said one man who attended the event in Tempe.

The City of Phoenix also put on a huge show at Steele Indian School Park.

Despite the heat, thousands of people gathered in the nation's capital Wednesday night to celebrate July Fourth with the annual fireworks display on the Mall.

There also was a concert featuring country music star Josh Turner, R&B performers Kool & the Gang and the National Symphony Orchestra.

In Philadelphia, marching bands paraded through the city's historic district on the seventh day of a heat wave.

Seventy-one-year-old Ellen Schmidt of Magnolia, N.J., says the hot weather could not keep her from a decades-long tradition of attending July Fourth festivities, which included a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens in front of Independence Hall.

And in New York, about a dozen disabled soldiers were invited to visit ground zero and the Sept. 11 Memorial.

And for the annual fireworks show in the city, people blanketed 12th Avenue in Manhattan as far as the eye could see to watch the 40,000 aerial shells that were launched from five barges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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