Happy 4th.

Posted: 4 July 2008 in joy, work

The National Anthem makes me cry.  It’s a good thing, a sentimental thing – I’m just an unbearable patriot in enough ways to make the 4th a veritable waterworks.  I tell you this only to tell you that I haven’t gotten teary even once today, despite hearing the anthem several times.  I suppose that it doesn’t help that I grew up in a town with a Main Street, a fourth of July parade, block parties, barbecues, sparklers, and fireworks.  Talk about a recipe for patriotism. 

In the Foreign Service, you frequently spend the 4th working, celebrating America’s independence with 200 of the Embassy’s closest friends.  One year, it was strictly black tie; California strawberries and champagne were served and a Marine sliced the red, white and blue cake with a long, shiny sword.  Another year, it was a steaming barbecue, with an African drum beat backing the Star Spangled Banner.  For me it has always been a time to break out the tissues, so that when the inevitable tears start to flow (part homesickness, part pride), I can rescue my eye make-up before my professional contacts start to stare.  Want to know more?  Digger has an accurate take on a working Fourth for government drones overseas here

For the first time in a long time, this 4th was a treat – a brunch, good friends and absolutely no stress (or tears).  I think I might be getting my life back.  Happy Independence Day.

  1. linaria says:

    I grew up in a town with a Main Street, a fourth of July parade, block parties, barbecues, sparklers, and fireworks. Talk about a recipe for patriotism.

    So did I. But for me…it was a recipe for bitterness, mostly. We moved to our small town, where the natives had noticeable difficulty even being civil to us: two heterosexual parents and two children, what’s more normal? But we weren’t the same colors. And that made us somehow less American, it seemed.

    It’s actually very comforting to read about your sense of patriotism. I never quite managed to develop mine.

  2. backlist says:

    I associate uniformity in color with non-American, interestingly. I found that many places are much more homogeneous than we are and differences stick out significantly. That, too, could be my sensitivity over being stared at as a blonde in so many places.

  3. linaria says:

    I’ve heard that from others as well–I had a number of friends who studied in Senegal who came back with similar stories.

    And as a related thought…why does hearing about your experiences overseas (which I truly enjoy, btw, even the sad ones) make me feel so much less American compared to you? I’ve been thinking about that. How can there be different degrees of “American-ness,” amongst people who are all legal citizens?

  4. backlist says:

    I’d love to hear more about how you feel less American. I know I’m about as white picket fence/apple pie as it gets in many ways but I’m not quite sure how that happened.

  5. Dylan says:

    I’ve never really been a proud American… always felt that being a good citizen meant being a very critical one… and yet, reading your entries has made me put some of that aside these last few days and focus on the positives about this country. Thanks for that. My fourth of July was more than hot dogs and fireworks this year!

  6. backlist says:

    being critical – I’d never thought of that as Americanism, but I think it’s an important part of who we are. excellent point!

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