The Independence Day celebration on the National Mall is always a big, crowded event with music, celebrities, and fireworks and artillery being fired off along the Potomac River at the end of the evening.

But this year, my wife and I, along with one of our daughters, got a wonderful and more intimate preview of the spirit of July Fourth when we attended the “Evening Parade” at the U.S. Marine Corps Barracks in the District of Columbia on the Friday before our country’s grand birthday celebration.

The Marine Barracks are just southeast of the U.S. Capitol—the coliseum where our political gladiators fight. The Barracks are known as the “Oldest Post of the Corps” because it is the oldest Marine base in the country.

Today, they are located on the very busy 8th Street, Southeast, which is full of great restaurants and sidewalk cafes and one of the best places to eat in Washington, not what you would expect to find at or near a military base.

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