Friday was only my second ever Independence Day spent in America and was the first for the children. We have celebrated Independence Day in Britain because Mr Pict is half-American and frankly because it is a good excuse to barbecue and feast. However, without the festival atmosphere, the red, white and blue everywhere and the fireworks, it could never be quite the same.
This Independence Day, therefore, was special because it was our first one spent in America as a family and also because my parents are here visiting. The fact that three of us are fully non-American did not deter us. We might be British but we all believe in a nation’s right to self-determination anyway so even politically we would have supported the Revolution. And, of course, we get to barbecue and feast. All celebrations end up revolving around food so this was no exception. Mr Pict grilled up everything from hot dogs and sausages to pork chops, steak and chicken and I made up salads and potato salads. Because we were not quite bloated enough, we then had chocolate cream pie or a patriotically decorated sponge cake.
The only other time I have been in America for Independence Day was 19 years ago. Mr Pict and I sat on the hard, cold, bum-numbing steps of the Lincoln Memorial for hours to snag a prime spot for viewing the fireworks over the National Mall. That was a pretty spectacular experience but our rumps did pay the price. This time we decided to keep it simple by staying locally so we headed out to one of the local High Schools to view their fireworks display. Woefully ill-prepared, we had entirely failed to move our new lawn chairs into the boot (trunk) of the bigger car and we didn’t even have a blanket to sit on. We were going to plonk ourselves on the grass when we spotted a long bench tipped over so we were able to right it and perch on it. A chap running for Congress was offering people free water ice (which is a bit like a UK slushy) so the boys even got to have a snack despite having parents who had not adequately forward-planned.
Daylight swiftly became dusk and settled into darkness and the sense of anticipation and expectation was palpable as the sky darkened to an inky blue. Finally the fireworks started. My kids are used to fireworks being in November (for Guy Fawkes night) and have usually watched displays while standing on the side of a loch, freezing cold and with their welly boots sinking further into sodden grass. The only exception was watching fireworks during the last Summer Olympics. It was, therefore, a welcome and lovely experience to be sitting on a balmy night watching the sky lit up with colourful, sparkling gunpowder. It was a really good fireworks display with a fantastic finale. We would definitely go to the same event in future years.
Overall it was a very successful Independence Day.