Last year, for the first time since 2001, I celebrated the 4th of July in the US. In the morning, I ran a race that kicked off a rather impressive year of running, and in the afternoon my parents and I watched my brother perform in a water ski show. We went out for a delicious Italian dinner, then, full and sleepy, found we weren't going to last until the fireworks started. So we drove home, watched the televised fireworks in Boston, and called it an early night.
This year, I'm back in the Netherlands. The weather is cold, rainy and windy, and the beach party I was going to attend tonight has been cancelled. Of the three Americans I know well, one has moved to New York, one is currently residing in Rome, and the other would scoff at me for getting all patriotic. I guess a few years ago I probably would have seen it that way, too.
But now, in my mind anyway, the holiday has lost its short-lived political edge. It's more about creating happy memories with friends and family, and having a special day to feel like a part of a community, if not a country. I'll miss sharing in that feeling today, but I'm happy that I can write this from such a distance, because it's allowed me to appreciate it that much more. So, American readers, enjoy the day, and enjoy your celebrations. I wish you clear skies and happy memories.