The pyrotechnic splendor that illuminated the velvet darkness over the Washington Monument Saturday night yielded yesterday to cloudy skies, as the glorious Fourth gave way to a dreary fifth and cleanup crews prowled the debris-littered grounds.
National Park Service employes, on foot and in trucks, spent the day piling and picking up cans, bottles, food wrappers and other rubbish left by a vast crowd of fireworks watchers on parkland turned in spots into a muddy morass by Saturday's 1.59 inches of rain -- the heviest this year.
A Park Service official said last night that while this year's cleanup seemed less daunting than last year's, possibly because of improved strategies for placing trash receptacles, it would probably require "a couple of days" to restore the grounds to normal.
Although Washington's Fourth of July fireworks display was held as scheduled, before a crowd that the Park Service estimated as more than 350,000 on the Mall and Monument grounds alone, the rains that preceded it washed out several suburban celebrations, and they were held yesterday.
About 4,000 people attended the fireworks last night at Herndon High School, according to Art Anselene, the town's parks director. Vienna also put on a fireworks show last night, and in Takoma Park a police dispatcher said a crowd estimated at 20,000 saw fireworks at Takoma Park Junior High School.
In Ocean City, Md., a fireworks show that was postponed Saturday was held last night, closing just as showers began again. At the Bay Bridge, traffic was light all day yesterday, police said. People started leaving the beaches on Saturday, said bridge police officer Tom Sinnott. "Because of the bad weather, probably," he said.