By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Vice president Joe Biden helped celebrate Independence Day in the nation’s birthplace.
Biden was taking part today in the “Celebration of Freedom” ceremony, at Independence Hall.
The annual Fourth of July event includes music, speeches, and a reading of excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.
Today’s ceremony also recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 60th anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, ending school segregation.
Biden, in his keynote address, noted the importance of the Declaration of Independence in laying out the founding principles of our nation, eventually leading to desegregation in the military, schools, and employment. He called same-sex marriage the next equality frontier, saying, “The landmark events we celebrate today make clear that the narrowminded and reactionary forces of the past and the present will never prevail in America.”
In preliminary remarks, Mayor Michael Nutter said, “Freedom only means something if you use it.” He urged Philadelphians to take actions that will make their country and their communities better.
Following the ceremonies on Independence Mall, Biden and Nutter took off their suit jackets to take part in a parade that looped through center city. Biden repeatedly paused to shake hands and pose for photos with bystanders.