BOSTON (CBS) — Per usual, the Independence Day festivities in Boston filled the city with hundreds of thousands of celebrating visitors.
Isolina Barron was a part of the excited crowd on the Esplanade.
“I’m so happy, I love this country so much. Four years ago I took my citizenship [test], I feel like I’m a part of this family,” she said.
For Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, the annual concert on the Esplanade was about something more than good music.
“This is, I think in many ways, one of the most fractious and divisive periods of time. Certainly, in my 57 years of life in this country, we have a lot of conflict that seems to exist at every level from Washington to the streets in the towns around us. This concert is an opportunity for us to bring people together, celebrating their commonalities and not dwelling on the differences.”
The returning locals, families from across the country, and newer U.S. citizens all agreed.
“It watched it every year on television in Las Vegas,” explained Deborah Sheehan. “It’s just so amazing. The people and the children…it’s just beautiful.”
Debbi Schinker traveled from Ohio to see the show.
“You can see fireworks anywhere but there is no music like the Pops who bring out the spirit of the country,” said Schinker.
Schinker spoke to WBZ-TV while waiting in line to get a seat on the Esplanade hours before the show.
She wasn’t alone; spectators had been scouting out the perfect spot to catch the Boston Pops and fireworks show since early Tuesday morning.
Some fans went above and beyond and got in line on Monday.
“It’s all about family, this is my Esplanade family, it’s the only time of year I see them,” said Lauren Tompkins after claiming a front row seat.
Lockhart, who has been conducting the Boston Pops Fourth of July event for almost 25 years, said it is all about the enthusiasm.
“It’s because of what the audience brings to this, they have so much enthusiasm, so much wanting a great event to happen and partly because of the central place that the Pops play in America’s understanding with its birthday,” he said.
The day began with a parade through downtown Boston with Mayor Marty Walsh.
From there, many headed to the Esplanade. Others could have taken up an opportunity to see an original of the Declaration of Independence.
In Lowell, a ceremony took the place of celebrations. 503 people took the Oath of Allegiance to become U.S. citizens.
Sheehan added, “It seems like it brings the country together, it’s so divided right now that when you have something like this, it makes you forget about all that.”