In the aftermath of Friday’s devastating storm, Independence Day celebrations were canceled in Kensington, South Germantown, Rockville and Gaithersburg to free up police and fire personnel for emergencies. But the Fourth went on as planned in many places, with parades in Great Falls, the District, Takoma Park, University Park, Dale City, Laurel and other communities.
Two of the three buildings used at Hains Point by the National Park Service, which oversees Independence Day celebrations on the Mall, had been without power since Friday night. Even so, thousands gathered on the Mall for a concert featuring Josh Turner, Kool & the Gang and the National Symphony Orchestra. Thousands more joined them for a 17-minute fireworks extravaganza that began a little after 9 p.m. and filled the sky with pinks, greens, purples and reds, whites and blues.
A line of powerful thunderstorms that had loomed as an ominous possibility throughout the day passed west of the city. Grant Faller packed up his lawn chairs and cooler after the pyrotechnics ended with a satisfied look.
“I’m 59,” said Faller, of Hyattsville, “and I’ve been coming here since I was 29.” The show had not disappointed.
Officially, normal is just around the corner. Pepco officials announced that they expected to have power restored to more than 90 percent of the utility’s customers by Wednesday night. That is days earlier than the utility had announced previously.
But Pepco’s speeded-up timeline was of little consolation to those whose homes still were in the dark — or who were sitting in houses with no electricity when they answered an automated utility phone call telling them their power had been restored.
Signs of frustration
Many people expressed their frustration the old-fashioned way, with handwritten messages on placards that were hung from utility poles like so many “Wanted” posters.
Along Route 29 in Silver Spring on Wednesday morning, a woman was angrily hammering a series of signs into non-functioning utility poles as holiday traffic streamed by her. Each sign succinctly expressed the irritation shared by thousands in the same boat: “5 Days No Lite.”
Another sign on River Road described the result — “Pepco: very warm humans feeling forgotten.”
And on Tenbrook Drive in Silver Spring, one desperate resident posted a couple of signs, including one that read: “Loss of Hope 4th of July Cancelled Inhumane!”