On July 3rd-4th, 2008, Falun Gong practitioners participated in parades in three cities in Ohio-Columbus, Anderson Township and Sharonville-to celebrate US Independence Day. Their beautifully-decorated float, elegant Tang Dynasty outfits, colourful banners which read, "Falun Dafa is good," and "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" and graceful exercise performance brought cheers and applause from spectators along the road.
This is the eighth year Falun Gong practitioners have participated in the Columbus Independence Day parade. When the beautifully-decorated float and compassionate "Pudu" music slowly passed the review stage, the host sighed with emotion, "Oh, I already feel relaxed, they are so peaceful." After introducing Falun Gong and mentioning that the practice has spread to 80 countries, the host read aloud the words of one banner: "The world needs Truth-Compassion-Tolerance."
On the morning of July 4th, Falun Gong practitioners came to Anderson Township. When a group of Asian children saw that mostly Asians formed the Falun Gong float, they were very happy, and they waved and smiled at practitioners, and imitated the exercise movements. After people received fliers, many read them right away. Practitioners on the float performed the graceful exercises, the Celestial Maidens waved at the audience, and several practitioners handed out fliers along the parade route.
In the afternoon, Falun Gong practitioners went to Sharonville to participate in their parade. Even though this was the first time Falun Gong practitioners had participated in this parade, the local people were quite familiar with Falun Gong. Since 2004, Falun Gong practitioners provided free Falun Gong teaching every Sunday at their social activity centre. The staff in the center is very supportive. During the parade, the audience was warm and welcoming, and cheers and praise could be heard along the parade route, "so beautiful!" "very beautiful presentation." Three young men walked up to the float and raised their thumbs and said, "Freedom! Religious freedom!"
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