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Old 06-30-2006, 02:12 PM   #16
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It's my birthday! Not being American, obviously it doesn't have any cultural meaning to me but it does have the advantage that friends tend to remember the date, although I then get lame jokes about "Born on the 4th of July".
My brother in law shares the same birthday and a couple of times in the past we've all gone to American bars over here to celebrate which has been great. What I would really love to do one year though is to celebrate it in style in the States. What do people think is the best place or way to enjoy the day if I do ever make it?

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Old 06-30-2006, 02:21 PM   #17
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Originally posted by Greenlight
What do people think is the best place or way to enjoy the day if I do ever make it?
Maybe this is only true in my area, but typically we don't travel for this holiday. There's a lot of "hometown pride" involved in the 4th of July holiday. Many people go camping or boating. It's sort of the norm to stick around your hometown with your family and friends there and have a picnic and go to some fireworks there, unlike Christmas and New Year's when people fly all over, like go on Caribbean cruises or watch the ball drop in Times Square.

So, you could really go anywhere because every single town or city will have their own parades and fireworks. Obviously, the bigger the city, the more extravagant the display.

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Old 06-30-2006, 02:26 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Greenlight
What do people think is the best place or way to enjoy the day if I do ever make it?

New York or DC -- the fireworks on the National Mall and/or the East River have to be seen to be believed.

though the heat in both places in the summer is a killer.
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Old 06-30-2006, 04:13 PM   #19
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^ yup...I've seen both and they really are a sight not to be forgotten.

Ironically, the 4th of July is usually a very "international" holiday for us, as what we've done for the last several years now is post a notice in the foreign grad student center inviting one and all to a barbecue at our house. Usually about 30 students show up, mostly homesick 20-something singles who simply couldn't afford to go home for the summer. Then we'll invite a few other faculty families, ones with children generally, so that there's someone for our kids to play with. It's nice for the students, because it gives them an afternoon and evening in a real American home, eating home-cooked food, with children running around and all that, rather than yet another evening in their apartments hunched over their dissertations slurping ramen noodles. Then afterwards, we have a modest amount of fireworks, boring (read: quiet) ooh-aah type ones for the adults, while the kids usually go out in the front yard with the noisier stuff.

The other thing our family generally does is go the county fair--many towns across the country hold their 4H/county fairs around 4th of July. The rides are overpriced, and the food is generally lousy (though there's a cheerful Amish family who run the greatest apple dumpling stand every year), but what I really like about it is the chance to go through all the barns getting a chance to meet and talk to all these pint-sized, self-assured preteens who are there to show their prizewinning steer or colt or quilt or pair of geese they raised or produced all by themselves. Pretty amazing kids.

I can't say we do much that's explicitly "USA"-focused, though as a family we do always throw a few lines into our prayers that day of gratitude for what Justin mentioned--living in a country that has, when all's said and done, and despite for sure some inexcusable failings along the way, really always displayed an incredible ethos of generosity when it comes to welcoming and taking in people from every corner of the world. (Ever thought about the words of that "I Lift My Lamp Beside The Golden Door" song most of probably learnt in grade school? I've never known quite what to think about the labelling implicit in that "give me...the wretched refuge of your teeming shore" bit lol, but anyhow it really still is a pretty singular, amazing, powerful idea, that here is a place where we'll measure you against no lofty preconceived cultural-identity standard and hold no particular presuppositions about "your kind" and how capable they are of finally belonging. Anyone really can join. Of course, our friends in Canada and Australia uphold the same principles.)

Anyhow it's always a holiday I look forward to.
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Old 06-30-2006, 05:49 PM   #20
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Originally posted by yolland

The other thing our family generally does is go the county fair--many towns across the country hold their 4H/county fairs around 4th of July. The rides are overpriced, and the food is generally lousy...
Yes! County Fairs are the best! Even here in Northern California, you can still find them. To me - that's my favorite activity! Riding rusty, rickety rides with my "braver than I am" step-daughter and eating greasy funnel cake as we wait for the fireworks played to Neal Diamond's "America" - which I can never actually hear because of the cheap speakers and booming fireworks

I love the 4th for all of the other reasons as well (patriotism, freedom, watching "Band of Brothers" yet again again on the History Channel, U2 had a song titled "4th of July" which doesn't remind me of the 4th of July whatsoever...etc)
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Old 06-30-2006, 07:17 PM   #21
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
I guess for me it's a day to remember that there are still so many great things about this country, in spite of all the negatives. And good people in it too. It's still a nostalgic and old fashioned sort of holiday too, not matter how much or how little it has been commercialized.
Very good question, MrsSpringsteen! For certain, the holiday has been commercialized and the day is spent celebrating self with food, alcohol and entertainment. As for discovering the true meaning of Independence Day, I like to think of it as paired with Memorial Day as representing “country”. For we live in a country built on the hard work and sacrifices of those who came before us – and a great country it is.

I think the sentiment here is representative of a larger segment of society – but is also one that makes me sad in a way. We live in a country with SO MUCH that the negatives that dominate our discourse are really trivial in the grand scheme of things.

We argue on the necessity of a fat tax, forgetting that we’ve never had to worry about gathering a source of food one day in our lives. We get outraged over global warming from climate controlled buildings. We don’t live in fear of wild animal attacks, invasion by conquering hoards or fear of government reprisal for our political beliefs or religious practices.

Does this mean that we have no problems in our country, or that I am suggesting we ignore our problems (the predictable snappy comeback)? No. But it is wise to retain perspective when the desire to chest thump arises.

Bottom line: I see the 4th of July as a day of corporate thanksgiving for how we are blessed as a country, much like our Thanksgiving Day holiday is for personal thanksgiving.
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Old 06-30-2006, 07:18 PM   #22
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362 days till my birthday
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Old 06-30-2006, 08:10 PM   #23
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Originally posted by Bonochick
I have a tremendous amount of pride for the United States, and I value my freedom and respect those who have made sacrifices for it. However,every 4th of July, I always remember this incident:

During my brief stint working at a 7-Eleven, I worked second shift by myself on 4th of July. When I informed a customer I couldn't break his $100 bill (just like our sign on the door says), he began yelling at me that he was a veteran, and that was no way to treat a veteran, especially on Independence Day. He continued to yell and was also insulting me, saying how stupid I was, until I started to cry. He then snarled, "I fought in Vietnam for your independence!!!!!!!!!!!" and stormed out of the store. I couldn't make myself stop crying as I waited on the people who had been in line behind him.

So...as pathetic as it may seems, I always remember 4th of July as the day a veteran made me feel like crap and bawl my eyes out in front of a whole bunch of people.

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Old 06-30-2006, 08:12 PM   #24
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Old 06-30-2006, 08:58 PM   #25
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it means hot & humid weather
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Old 06-30-2006, 10:31 PM   #26
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I think of it as AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY. I do as I've gotten older watch some of the coverage of activities and entertainment in Washington, D.C. on this holiday and I do reflect and think about how I do love living in this country and how I do value our Freedom.

I've felt different ways about the holiday over the years. Growing up it was always a big picnic somewhere--the beach, a park or at someone's backyard who had a pool. Baseball, sunshine and sunburns, picnic food, soda pop, lous music, BBQ smoke everywhere, and the much anticipated fireworks displays once darkness fell. It was so much fun as a kid. Especially the year we were late for a pool party because our parents allowed us to witness our cat birthing kittens the morning of July 4th and we named them in order of birth: Yankee, Doodle, Dandy, Sam.....

When my son came along we always tried to make the 4th a family day of the picnic tradition or a baseball game followed by concert in the park and fireworks displays.

Today I can watch the fireworks set off from the pier where I live at the beach then run to the backyard where I can see the nightly fireworks displays from Sea World just 2 miles away. It will be a day off work, a day to relax, BBQ, visit with friends but more importantly acknowledge the 230th birthday of the great United States of America!!

(Also Happy Birthday to all the Independence day babies like Maddie!!)
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Old 06-30-2006, 11:05 PM   #27
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There've already been a few posts that basically covered my thoughts, but I'll put my own spin on it now.

It's a day to put aside our differences and remember the many things that are amazing about this country and its people. It's a day to be thankful for men & women who have died in the name of our country, regardless of whether we support what they specifically died for or not.

In general, it's time for me to consider just what my life might have looked like had I been born in other parts of the world and to thank God for his placing me in the States. Oh - and to get a lump in my throat & all watery-eyed as Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to be an American" plays for the umpteenth time.
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:48 AM   #28
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I like this

Christian Science Monitor

By Jeffrey Shaffer Fri Jun 30

As millions of Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and other festivities, I'll be taking a moment to think about the day in seventh grade when I made a careless decision that would have appalled the Founding Fathers: I revealed my school locker combination to a complete stranger.

How can these two subjects possibly be related? Because the concept of independence has implications in numerous areas of daily life. Right now most public debate is focused on how much power federal agencies need to protect us from terror threats. What doesn't get nearly enough attention is the sad fact that many of the everyday challenges to our personal independence originate with friends and fellow citizens.

I still don't know why that kid in seventh grade was compiling his list of locker combinations. He told me it was all authorized by the vice principal. That was my introduction to one of humanity's oldest recurring characters: the friendly con artist. Before nations existed, I'm sure there were scammers with sly smiles strolling up to the front entrance of flimsy huts and announcing, "I'm in charge of a very important project and your participation is vital!"

All children should be made aware of this hazard at the earliest possible age. To me, good citizenship requires a solid understanding of the Constitution, setting high standards of conduct, and not allowing someone else to manipulate you into violating your own rules.

Defending personal independence can be stressful, but that's exactly how the manipulators want you to feel. One of the near-universal experiences of childhood is the moment when some casual acquaintance tries to enlist you into helping with a nefarious scheme and attempts to overcome your reluctance with the phrase, "Come on. Please? I'll be your friend!"

In addition to peer pressure, personal independence is also under constant assault from advertisers who want to create the impression that anyone who isn't buying a particular item is totally out of sync with the rest of society. The standard opening line in commercials that want to create this anxiety is, "If you're like most people...." Translation: If you're not weird or a complete bumpkin, you should be using our product.

There is no instruction for this aspect of life. We're all doing on-the-job training that never ends. It wasn't until I became a parent that a truly unpleasant scenario came to my attention and caused some bumpy moments among neighborhood relations. The problem occurs when adults ask other people's children (such as my daughter) to make decisions (going to parties, babysitting, boy/girl sleepovers) that should be considered by the parents first.

Luckily I gave up worrying about my reputation long ago. Maintaining your integrity inevitably means declining to follow every new trend and appearing out of touch with mainstream culture. I think the Founding Fathers would agree with me. They knew all about holding unpopular opinions.

So let's celebrate the Founders on July 4th. But after the fireworks are over, just remember that every other box on the calendar is your Personal Independence Day.
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:30 AM   #29
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Originally posted by angelordevil
Speaking as a Canadian, it's a bit like a birthday party for your older brother...the one you love, and love to make fun of.

Our day, "Canada Day," is three days earlier, July 1st.

Please send a card this year
happy July 1st!
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Old 07-01-2006, 08:34 PM   #30
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july fourth sadly doesn't really mean that much to me

it's just a specacle

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