Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Happy 236th

The USA begins its 237th year of independence

Happy 236th

With about 200 members of the national Occupy movement convening in Philadelphia over the 4th of July for what they called the "Occupy National Gathering," the elevated police presence was noticeable during the Independence Day parade through the Historic District.

I've covered parades here - from the Mummers to the Polish to the Thanksgiving Day - for almost thirty years, and this was the first time ever the cops wouldn't allow photographers to walk along the route on the inside of the barriers. Or step inside to photograph participants head-on. Even with our City-issued Wawa Welcome America! press credential, the police wouldn't permit us to cross Market Street.

To get from Independence Hall to the Independence Visitor Center (where I'd stashed my laptop) across the street everyone had to either walk up or down five blocks, then cross walk back, or do like I and a bunch of other tourists did; take the subway to 2nd St. get out, cross over the platform, and take another train back to 5th St.

Still, I love a parade. Happy 236th Birthday USA!

( For more photos, and to see all the Inquirer staff photos from July 4th, click here )

Here's to beginning our 237th year of independence...

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
Also on
Stay Connected