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Millions of Americans came out in force to celebrate Independence Day - and even a hurricane couldn't stop them.
Hurricane Arthur, the first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season moved away from New York and towards New England Friday as it was downgraded from Category II to a Category I, and most people on large cities along the seaboard refused to let the storm dampen their Independence Day enthusiasm.
The hurricane, initially forecast to drench New York, fizzled out before it ever got going. The showers were predicted to last until at least 9pm, but never amounted to more than a drizzle.
Thousands of people began lining the city's East River in both Manhattan and Brooklyn in the hours leading up to the annual Macy's Fireworks show, said to be the country's largest.
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The show goes on: Organizers moved the Macy's fireworks barges down the East River from their planned launch because of rip tides, but the show went off without any other issues
Massive: The country's largest July 4th fireworks display even has pyrotechnics shooting off the Brooklyn Bridge
The view from Brooklyn: Fireworks explode over the East River with the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn bridge in the background as part of the 38th Annual Macy's Fourth of July fireworks
Freedom tower: The World Trade Center spire lit for first time in Red, White, & Blue for 4th of July fireworks NYC. The building is 1776 feet tall and is the tallest in the Western hemisphere, the United States declared its independence in 1776
Massive: More than one million people are estimated to have lined the banks of the East River, which separates Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens, to watch the fireworks show
"And the rockets red glare": Fireworks illuminate the sky over the U.S. Capitol building and the Washington Monument during Fourth of July celebrations, on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Washington
Lined along the shores: One of the many crowds that gathered in New York to watch the Macy's fireworks
Perfect day: US President Barack Obama greets veterans and their families, as well as White House staff, at an Independence Day barbecue on the South Lawn of the White House
Down, but not out: Pyro-technicians of Zambelli, Bryan Jackson, left, and Steve Neer, check water damage to fireworks barrels at the Nags Head Fishing Pier as the low clouds of Hurricane Arthur pass through Nags Head, N.C. Friday, July 4, 2014
A brilliant 25-minute show of reds, whites and blues lit up the sky from three barges on the water, sandwiched between Brooklyn and lower Manhattan - and even some from the Brooklyn Bridge itself.
Macy's says more than 1,600 shells were launched per minute during the 25-minute display.
One World Trade Center marked the holiday by lighting its 400-foot antenna red, white and blue.
Earlier in the day, Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut dropped to one knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend before Friday's annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, and then packed away 61 franks and buns to hold onto his coveted mustard yellow winner's belt. It was the eight year in a row he won the contest.
Washington D.C. was far enough inland to enjoy a picturesque holiday. President Barack Obama held the annual White House barbecue for soldiers and veterans, and the capitol's fireworks show light up the sky after sundown.
The barbecue, sponsored by the USO, also featured a concert by recording artist Pitbull.
Obama's daughter Malia, who was born on July 4, also celebrated her 16th birthday.
Further north, in New England, the rain will last into Saturday morning. Cape Cod and Nantucket, where hundreds of thousands of tourists are spending their Independence Day holiday, are under a tropical storm warning.
A tradition: The USS Constitution heads back to dock after giving a 21-gun salute off Castle Island on its annual Fourth of July turn-around on Boston Harbor in Boston
A day earlier: The annual Boston Fourth of July fireworks show went off ahead of schedule on the third of July because of Hurricane Arthur
Several feet of coastal flooding deluged the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Thursday night - damaging homes and businesses. Bryan Wilson, the owner of Miller's Waterfront Restaurant, wades up to his damaged storefront
This image, taken from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, shows the extent of the flooding in the Outer Banks
Land of the free: The Fourth of July was spent doing clean-up and salvage in the Outer Banks as flood waters slowly receded
On North Carolina's Outer Banks, which were hit by the brunt of the storm, Arthur left behind flooding, washed out roads, damaged homes and more than 41,000 without power on Friday morning, but the beaches were reopened by the holiday.
'The North Carolina beaches are open for business and they're open for tourists,' Gov. Pat McCrory said. 'The umbrellas are going up as we speak right now.'
Tens of thousands evacuated the barrier island chain and fled inland ahead of the storm. There were no deaths and few injuries reported, and McCrory even attended a parade in Southport.
Jesse and Carol Wray could see outside their home in Salvo on North Carolina Highway 12 that the road was submerged under several feet of water Friday morning. The six-foot-tall lamppost at the end of their driveway was under water except for its top, and that was after the sound a quarter-mile away receded several feet since first light, said Jesse Wray, 68, a retired Norfolk, Virginia, firefighter.
'I'm surprised that it got this bad. There's all kind of debris floating around here. I know a lot of people who lost their houses around here' if they were built on the ground instead of elevated, Jesse Wray said. Wray's home is on pilings nine feet off the ground and avoided water inside.
This incredible image shows swirling Hurricane Arthur from high above Earth in the International Space Station
Camper trailers were tossed around like toys by the flood waters that gushed across much of the Outer Banks Thursday night
Almost 20,000 people were without power this morning as the storm came ashore late last night, shortly after being upgraded to Category II
About seven miles south on the island, Frank Folb, 70, said his brick home on a rise in Buxton suffered no damage. Tomato plants in his garden were twisted and broken, but 'overall it's not bad,' he said. 'I've been losing electricity but I slept through the night pretty well.'
Paul Wernock said water about 3 feet deep surrounded his Rodanthe, North Carolina, home but was receding early Friday. "We have one giant mess" from tree damage and debris, but no obvious structural damage to homes on his side street, he said.
Four cruise ships were also diverted to avoid the path of the storm. Norwegian Gem cancelled a scheduled port of call at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas due to the incoming storm.
Three ships operated by Royal Caribbean also cancelled scheduled stops at CocoCay in the Bahamas in a bid to move on and stay ahead of Hurricane Arthur and its surrounding high winds and rain.
Majesty of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas will instead spend extra time at sea.
More than 20,000 customers were without power near North Carolina's coast early on Friday morning, according to utility Duke Energy.
Officials in many cities prepared for the worst. The annual Boston Pops Fourth of July concert and fireworks show was rescheduled for Thursday because of potential heavy rain from Arthur. The fireworks thundered and flashed over the Charles River, just beating the storm.
Before that Beach Boys founder Mike Love, Broadway star Megan Hilty and the Boston Children's Chorus made their way through lively performances and thousands of revelers sang along to patriotic songs.
Augusta, Maine, moved its fireworks display to Aug. 2 to coincide with an annual festival, while several New Hampshire cities moved their fireworks shows to either Saturday or Sunday. In New Jersey, Atlantic City and Ocean City moved their fireworks to Sunday.
Early celebration: Spectators wave flags during a concert at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade in Boston, Thursday, July 3, 2014. The annual Boston Pops Fourth of July concert was moved up a day because Hurricane Arthur
Show must go on: The Beach Boys, including original members Mike Love, second from left, and Bruce Johnston, third from left, perform at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade in Boston
Spectacular sight: The fireworks thundered and flashed over the Charles River in Boston, just beating the Thursday night storm
Patriotic: Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Thompson, right, of Detroit, and Megan Schinker, 13, of Stow, Ohio, watch a reading by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in Boston
Belt it out: Megan Hilty performs during a concert at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade