America served up 235 years of independence on Monday, washed down with a barrel of patriotism, a dash of stars and stripes and plenty of hot dogs and ice-cream on the side. On July 4, 1777, Philadelphia celebrated the first Independence Day with a dinner, speeches, parades and fireworks, while ships were decked out in red, white and blue. All these years later, little has changed ... it just got bigger. The day also drew out a few anti-American protesters, most notably in the Philippines, where riot police stood guard outside the US embassy. Outside the embassy in London, another sentinel took its place - a three-metre-high statue of former president Ronald Reagan.