Rachel Levitin: Continuing my Fourth of July tradition at Nats Park

Happy Fourth of July from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.! It wasn't always the case, but attending baseball games at Nats Park on Independence Day has become a tradition of mine. While I've lived in the District since 2005, I've been able to watch the Nationals as they've developed since their inception. It's been a staple of my summers.

Just as being at Nats Park to watch baseball in the nation's capital on the day in which we celebrate our country's birth, heading down to the National Mall for a little visit tends to be on my Independence Day to-do list. That's why I was at the Capitol Fourth concert rehearsal on the west lawn of the Capitol yesterday.

The general consensus among all of the artists performing - from crooner Barry Manilow to American Idol's country boy Scotty McCreery - is that there's an immense amount of pride associated with being able to perform selections from the American song book with the Captiol in the background on America's birthday. It's one of those types of honors.

"It makes you believe in America, I mean really," Manilow said of D.C. on the Fourth. "You must know what I know now, living in D.C. you know it all the time, you think about it all the time, how grateful you are to be here in America walking around the city. It's just the most magnificent place ever."

I think his sentiments stand true when compared to being at Nats Park on the Fourth, the reason being that being in D.C. on the Fourth is just one of those memorable cliché items on the majority of Americans' bucket lists. It's an event that you take pictures of and document and share stories about during family gatherings and friendly get-togethers for the imminent future.

The Washington Nationals may not be in first place in their division as of today, but that doesn't erase any of the pageantry of the game honoring of America's birthday and the fun that will unfold over nine innings as the game proceeds. While it'd be nice to watch the Nats win a game, Neil Diamond will be at the ballpark to perform "Freedom Song (They'll Never Take Us Down)" in tribute to those affected in the Boston Marathon bombing, and the team will be honoring our troops throughout the afternoon as part of its Patriotic Series. So no matter the outcome, win or lose, it's bound to be a fun afternoon.

It's always a packed house on the Fourth at Nats Park, which makes for a nice roar in the crowd as the action unfolds. The steady hum of the crowd is a comforting sound to me as a baseball fan, it's nice to see the summer family back together again.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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