Washington: Colourful parades, cultural events and prayers for victims of the shootout at a Wisconsin gurdwara marked the day, as Indian Americans across the US began celebrations to commemorate India's Independence Day.
The largest celebration was held in Iselin, New Jersey, yesterday which has one of the largest concentrations of Indian-Americans in the US, with thousands of people standing for hours on either side of the Oak Tree Road holding the Indian tricolour to watch a colourful parade.
Organised by the Indian Business Association (IBA), the parade started with a prayer in memory of six Sikh worshippers who were shot dead by a white supremacist on August 5.
The parade featured a marching band, over 15 floats, dozens of marching groups, and even a horse carriage.
Leading the parade was grand marshal and Bollywood actress Prachi Desai and music director Aadesh Shrivastava.
"Born in America, the parade is a reminder of my culture. It makes me proud," said Jay Amin, a 9-year-old from East Brunswick.
Over 20 groups, comprised children of various ages performed dances at cultural programmes following the parade.
Several prominent elected officials, including Woodbridge Mayor John McCormick, Congressman Frank Pallone, State Senator Sam Thompson, Freeholders Polos and Rios and members of the Woodbridge Council, attended the parade.
"The Indo-American Community should be proud, this is an amazing event," said Pallone.
In Long Island, New York, which has emerged as the newest Little India, actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna, led the first India Independence Day parade which was attended by an estimated 10,000 people.
Indian Consul General, New York, Prabhu Dayal, was among others who attended the parade along with other officials.
As thousands of people stood on either side of the road on Broadway starting from Patel Brothers plaza, the float on Sikh identity was a reminder to the recent gurdwara shooting.
Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, was the chief guest of Independence day celebrations in Boston where several thousand people attended the celebrations marked by display of Indian arts and crafts.
People here too, mourned the death of the Sikh worshippers killed in the shooting.
Similar celebrations were held across other cities and more events are scheduled for next week.
The largest of the India Independence Day celebration is scheduled for next week in down town Manhattan – where like previous years thousands of people are expected to attend.
Officially, the Independence Day would be celebrated on August 15 when Rao would unfurl the national flag at her residence in Washington DC, and so will the Indian Consulates in New York, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta and the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.


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