CBS 3’s David Spunt and KYW Justin Udo contributed to this story.. 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thousands filled Independence Mall on Monday July 3rd to watch the Philly POPS perform in front of Independence Hall.

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The tradition goes back many years, and while fireworks are not allowed above Independence Hall because of safety, people who came out had a great time.

“We’re all one nation,” Paul Rothman told Eyewitness News. “We’re one group of people that really need to be together.”

Rothman is from Philadelphia and started going to this specific celebration years ago.

Many say they can not imagine spending one of the most patriotic of days, anywhere else.

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Philadelphia native Estelle Fleischer also was there for the patriotic sounds.

“My whole married life I lived in New York and I moved back here eight years ago,” she said. “There’s no place like Philadelphia,”

The celebration in 2017 brings back spirit and reverence for what happened inside Independence Hall 241-years-ago.

“It’s very emotional,” Rothman added. “It really is very touching to be part of it and think about what happened back in those times.”

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During the show, the POPS performed “Philadelphia Freedom,” “America the Beautiful,” and “Service Salute.”