Americans Gather in DC for Fireworks, Music and Independence

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Neil Diamond performs during a rehearsal for the 'A Capitol Fourth 2013 Independence Day Concert' on the West Lawn of the US Capitol on July 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. (credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)

Neil Diamond performs during a rehearsal for the ‘A Capitol Fourth 2013 Independence Day Concert’ on the West Lawn of the US Capitol on July 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. (credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Americans are preparing to gather on the National Mall to celebrate the 237th anniversary of the nation’s independence.

The July Fourth festivities in Washington include a parade down Constitution Avenue, a concert at dusk on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol and a 17-minute fireworks display beginning at 9:10 p.m.

Guide to July 4th on National Mall

Music legend Barry Manilow will headline the show, which will be hosted by Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With the Stars”). In a special performance, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Diamond will debut his new tribute song, “Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down),” inspired by Boston Marathon bombing.

Fellow musical performers include “American Idol” winners Scotty McCreery and Candice Glover; Darren Criss (“Glee”); Jackie Evancho; Megan Hilty (“Smash”), as well as music from Broadway’s new hit “Motown The Musical.” Composer John Williams will also conduct portions of his score for the movie “Lincoln.”

The National Park Service says automatic budget cuts approved by Congress this year will have a modest impact on the festivities. A second concert that’s been held on the past on the grounds of the Washington Monument won’t be staged this year. Park service spokeswoman Carol Johnson says eliminating that show will save $200,000.

The concert is free and open to the public. Gates open at 3 p.m. and event organizers suggest getting to the grounds by 6 p.m. in order to view the concert.

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(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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