- Associated Press - Saturday, July 5, 2014

The United States marked 238 years as an independent nation and celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks, food and music. Nature and politics also played a role this year, with Hurricane Arthur crashing holiday parties along the East Coast and subdued festivities in Moscow amid growing anti-American sentiment over the crisis in Ukraine. Here are some highlights of Independence Day celebrations across the globe:

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FIRE IN THE SKY

Tens of thousands of people crammed the narrow cobble stone streets of a landmark seaport and the closed lanes of a riverfront highway to watch the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show in New York City.

A brilliant 25-minute show of reds, whites and blues lit up the sky from three barges on the East River, 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 display. It’s the nation’s largest Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

One World Trade Center marked the holiday by lighting its 400-foot antenna red, white and blue.

Other major fireworks shows were being held in Chicago on Lake Michigan and in San Francisco over the bay.

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WEATHER WORRIES

The first hurricane of the season, Arthur, forced many East Coast cities to switch the dates of their Fourth of July celebrations. Boston officials moved the annual Boston Pops July 4 concert and fireworks from Friday to Thursday. Then they cut short the concerts so the fireworks could begin. Shortly after the dazzling display thundered to a close, a drenching rain began falling. Meanwhile, several cities in Maine, New Hampshire and New Jersey moved their fireworks shows to either Saturday or Sunday. Augusta, Maine, moved its fireworks to Aug. 2.

When it crossed North Carolina’s Outer Banks late Thursday, Arthur narrowly missed becoming the first hurricane to make landfall on July Fourth, according to National Hurricane Center research that dates to the 1850s.

In Phoenix, the first dust storm of the summer arrived with blinding winds that forced the cancellation of holiday plans, knocked out power and grounded flights.

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INSPIRING MUSIC

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