Hometown Fourth of July

July 4, 2011, Washington, DC: It took me several years to realize that Washington, DC has a local flavor as well a national one. It's easy to think the city possesses only a national character and cares only about national news. Turns out, local character and local news are abundant here provided you know where to look. For starters, look at Capitol Hill's neighborhood 4th of July parade.

This is not the Capitol Hill you see on C-SPAN, littered with politicians and badges and roll call votes. This is the Capitol Hill filled to the brim with dogs and strollers and community businesses. This is the Capitol Hill where people not only work, but live.

Sure, the national parade takes place this morning a short mile away, but we head to our neighborhood parade instead. We chat with our neighborhood friends, cheer on our neighborhood elementary schools, and applaud for the neighborhood Princess Patrol. Here is where we wake up, grab a cup of coffee and amble down to our community parade. No need to flee to a small town if you can live in a neighborhood like this one in a great big city.