The 4th of July is one of my favorite American holidays to celebrate, but especially so in the United Kingdom. When friends wish me a Happy 4th (or even “Happy Independence Day!”) with sincerity, it’s a nice reminder that eventually some animosities can be overcome, if you have 241 years to cool off.
It’s one of about three days a year (the others being Thanksgiving and Christmas) where I try to momentarily forget the state of the world and celebrate the things I am lucky to have. I love both my countries, and that won’t change no matter who leads their governments. My love and patriotism may take on new shades (#resist!), but a country is not only its leaders but also its people. In many ways this year, the US has both made me horribly ashamed, angry, and proud. I can’t shed my American identity, and I don’t want to, even when it might be easier to do so (learning an English accent notwithstanding). There are a great many things about America that are still admirable, and I will celebrate those and all of the wonderful Americans I know and love who make my country a better place.
A key component of this is that I am celebrating here in London with some American friends, as well as many Brits and other nationalities who eagerly look forward to the celebration each summer. This is my third 4th of July party in London, always held on the weekend before or after the actual 4th, and always full of love and good times. Plus, it turns out everyone just wants to go to a party where they have “the red cups from the movies!” Well, my friends, I can provide this for you.
Happy Independence Day! May we all use it to remember that what unites us is far stronger than what divides us.