DC Fourth of July celebrations kick off at National Archives

Steve Edenbo has portrayed Thomas Jefferson for 16 years.
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The nation’s capital celebrates the Fourth! Thousands gathered in Washington to mark the occasion, which kicked off with festivities at the National Archives.

240 years were celebrated at the National Archives, the place that holds the most important documents in American history. The main attraction was a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence.

"This event every year, as I originally intended it to, helps remind me and everybody here why we do what we do, and who we are as a nation,” said Steve Edenbo, portraying Thomas Jefferson in the reading.

Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the charter that severed ties from Britain on this day. Edenbo, in character as Jefferson, likes that Americans have expanded on the document he created centuries ago, and becoming a more inclusive country.

"The United States is, yes, based upon liberty, but also equality and the two of them can work together, and must work together,” said Edenbo.

"The National Archives is the home of the Declaration of Independence, and the Fourth of July starts here,” said David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States.

Ferriero says the Fourth puts into perspective just how significant his job is.

"We kind of feel a responsibility,” said Ferriero. "In fact, the way I phrase it is, we own the Fourth of July.”

He says the dramatic reading of the Declaration brings people together from all over to feel what it was like in 1776, with professional actors and audience participation.

"What impresses me the most is, you heard the crowd out here, you heard the shouting. It gives you a sense I think of what our ancestors heard and felt for the first time,” said Ferriero.

Ferriero says they’re already gearing up for the big 250, a decade down the road.

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