The Fourth of July is Wednesday. Celebrating it is the great American tradition. Years ago I decided our daughter should experience the holiday in other parts of the country besides ours. Here are some of our most memorable venues:
Clinton, Iowa. My hometown still marks the Fourth the old fashioned way with a carnival, ice cream socials and a parade. The parade, frankly, is pretty lame by D.C. standards. Mostly it’s just the fire trucks, police cars and a marching band or two. Although if you go in July before an election year, you are almost certain to see one of the to-be candidates for president marching down Second Street waving and shaking hands.
Chicago. We watched the fireworks burst over Navy Pier. But we watched them from above because we were on the 60th floor of a nearby high rise. The fireworks were exploding several floors below us.
San Francisco. Only in San Francisco do you have to wear a winter coat in July. We went to the top of Coit Tower and could see firework displays all over the Bay area. The sky was perfectly clear, but boy, was it chilly.
Philadelphia. In 2005, we spent three days in the City of Brotherly Love. We visited Independence Hall on July 2, the actual date the Continental Congress voted for our freedom. The morning of the Fourth we had breakfast at a nearby café with Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. Ok, they were just actors made up to look like our founding fathers, but still. The highlight of the trip was a free concert at the foot of the “Rocky” steps at the art museum. The featured entertainer was Elton John. It seemed odd to have a Brit entertain on our Independence Day, but when Sir Elton sang “Philadelphia Freedom” it all came together.
My personal favorite Fourth was in Washington in 1976. It was our nation’s bicentennial. It’s estimated that one million people jammed the Mall that day to celebrate. It’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen.
July 4th is the great American holiday. Wishing you and your family a happy celebration is a red, white and blue Core Value.