Despite the heat, thousands of people gathered in the nation's capital Wednesday night to celebrate July Fourth with the annual fireworks display on the Mall.

There also was a concert featuring country music star Josh Turner, Kool & the Gang and the National Symphony Orchestra.

In Philadelphia, marching bands paraded through the city's historic district on the seventh day of a heat wave.

Seventy-one-year-old Ellen Schmidt of Magnolia  says the hot weather could not keep her from a decades-long tradition of attending July Fourth festivities, which included a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens in front of Independence Hall.

And in New York, about a dozen disabled soldiers were invited to visit ground zero and the Sept. 11 Memorial.

And for the annual fireworks show in the city, people blanketed 12th Avenue in Manhattan as far as the eye could see to watch the 40,000 aerial shells that were launched from five barges.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)