I’ve lost count of how many Fourth of July’s I’ve passed not in the USA. Living as an ex-pat sans children means that the Fourth of July is easy to miss. There are not fireworks, no day off and no kids to
indoctrinate entertain with sparklers. Most of the time, I wish my fellow Americans in Canada a Happy Fourth of July and call home.
As I was walking to Kids Camp/Vacation Bible School this morning, I was thinking about the Fourth of July. Having failed so many times to observe it, I was thinking that maybe it’s time to admit defeat. I mean really, I didn’t even buy blueberries to eat with dessert tonight. It’s just strawberries–red. So that’s basically just a Canada Day Dessert.
After camp, we have a lunch for debriefing and feeding hungry volunteers. Because we have a team of families from Alabama to help with our camp, lunch was “southern BBQ” and strawberry & blueberry American flag cake. And the national anthem. As we stood to sing, I put my hand over my heart and belted out the familiar words. Memories of baseball games, school assemblies and Independence days came rushing forward. Many of my Church friends glanced over, eyebrows raised as they hadn’t known I’m American. In a swell of patriotism, we also sang “O Canada”. Among the Americans, I think I was alone in knowing the words.
And there I stood, singing allegiance and admiration to two countries I know and love. Both songs filled with me happy memories, joy at the freedom and justice I encounter and yes, even a bit of pride to be counted an American and Canadian.
For my American friends: How do you celebrate the Fourth? What does it mean to you to be American?