United States: Falun Gong Contingent Warmly Received in Redwood City Independence Day Parade

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On the 4th of July, American Independence Day, Redwood City in the San Francisco Bay area held its annual grand parade. The Falun Gong contingent was one of the 527 groups participating in the parade. Major co-ordinator of the parade and Chairman of the Peninsula Celebration Association Robert Slusser said that they have been inviting multi-cultural groups in the past years to take part in the parade, and the Falun Gong group has been bright, colourful, and their performances excellent.

Stephanie Hernandez Marquez grew up in Redwood City, and she was the MCs for the parade. When introducing Falun Gong, she blurted out, "I really like them!" Another MC, R. T. Carr cut in, "I think they are fantastic!"

Marquez said, "I wholeheartedly like Falun Dafa, because I like their 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,' so when they passed by, my voice choked, not only because how beautiful they are, but because of their inner peace and compassion... so I like them. If I were to choose a symbolic group for the parade, (it's) them, because of their message."

Carr added that Falun Gong's exercise music is very peaceful. When they pass by, it makes people feel as if they are peacefully making their way through the dusty throng.

Carr said that as an MC, sometimes they may not have manuscripts, and would be anxious about failing to introduce to tens of thousands of spectators what the group just passing by looked like. But the presentation of Falun Dafa group does not need any introduction, he said.

Nancy, one of the spectators, said that the only ethnic group that she could remember was Falun Gong, "I think they are so beautiful!" she said.

Another spectator, Mariam Lane, a mother who brought her son to watch the parade, said that Falun Gong left a deep impression on her son Tracy. When watching the Falun Gong exercise demonstration, she could feel those who practised the exercises were very happy.

The organisers of the parade set up several stages at different places along the parade route to introduce the parade groups. Ted Holland was also one of the MCs. He said, "I'm very surprised that there are so many Falun Gong practitioners. Their group is majestic, and is one of the grandest groups in the parade. Their costumes are brilliant and gorgeous, and they display a good demeanour."

Redwood City is located in the Mid-Peninsula area of San Francisco Bay. This was the 70th annual celebration of Independence Day in Redwood City. Over 500 groups from different cities participated, attracting 200,000 to 300,000 spectators. It is the oldest and largest parade in northern California.

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