(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners took part in the 89th Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, ranked by Time Out magazine as second only to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The weather cooperated, and the entire parade route was lined with spectators on November 23, 2023. The parade was broadcast live on television and online.
This is the 20th year in a row that practitioners have participated in this parade. Their procession included a flag team, practitioners demonstrating the exercises, and a float. When he introduced them, the host said, “By just looking at them, I feel peace and comfort. After a busy and tense day like this, I will definitely give it a try.”
The Falun Dafa procession was greeted with cheers and applause. Some people imitated their movements as practitioners demonstrated the exercises, while others took photographs and video recordings. A Chicago resident contacted a practitioner he met at the parade and said he wanted to learn the practice.
The Falun Dafa procession also caught the media’s attention, and images of the float appeared in CBS News Chicago and ABC 7 News and was selected as the cover image of the Associated Press video footage.
Mario, a photographer, took many photos of the Falun Dafa procession, exclaiming, “This is a hundred percent beautiful! I get to see this beautiful float every year. It’s great!”
Chicago resident Mike said he enjoyed the Falun Dafa procession, from the flag team to the float. This was the first time he’d heard about Falun Dafa. He said the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance are values society needs to embrace.
Dan, who’d traveled from Ohio to Chicago, said he was excited to get to see the 89th Thanksgiving Parade. “The [Falun Dafa] float is absolutely beautiful!” he said.
Martha is a student from Mongolia. She and her friend recorded the entire Falun Dafa procession. She exclaimed, “I really like it! I love it!”
Jasha Sommer-Simpson demonstrates the exercises on the float almost every year, and said he was proud and happy to participate. “It’s wonderful to be part of something bigger than myself. It’s good that we continue the tradition of Thanksgiving. This allows people to take a step back in their busy schedules and spend time with their families,” he said.
Practitioner Lonn Yang said, “I am thankful that I have a beautiful family and friends who support me. They help me to improve my personality and make me a better person. We face challenges every day, and I know that I have to keep improving myself.
“I am also thankful to participate in the parade. During the pandemic, no one could go out. I am glad that we get a chance to have social activities again.”
Ms. Liu thanked Mr. Li Hongzhi, Falun Dafa’s founder, and said that Falun Dafa gave her a new life. “I am also grateful that I could come to the United States. In this free country, I’ve escaped the Chinese communist regime’s iron claws. I get to speak up for the practice and help end the ongoing persecution in China.” Ms. Liu said she’s grateful for the freedom of belief and speech in the U.S.
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