I never cared much about the Fourth of July when I was growing up, but when you live in Washington, D.C. celebrating the Fourth kind of becomes a big deal. My first summer in D.C. twenty-some years ago, my friends and I camped out all day on the National Mall (along with thousands of our closest friends). I don’t even remember what we did to pass the time but it didn’t matter either. We were all there — together — and that’s what was most important. Oh, and there were some fireworks too.
We did this for a few summers. I do remember that it was hot and muggy and then the afternoon rainstorms would come and we’d be soaking wet, but we didn’t care. When it was finally time to see the fireworks light up the night sky — it was magical. There is so much excitement and patriotism in one place. I think that’s when I fell in love with this holiday.
For a few years when our kids were young, we would avoid the crowds on the mall and walk down to the Iwo Jima memorial to watch the fireworks. We’d bring a blanket and sit in the grass and snuggle while fireworks exploded above the city in the distance.
In recent years, we discovered the joys of our neighborhood block party. Our neighbors go all out — they would get dressed up and recreate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. For real. From the crest of the hill a couple of streets away you can see the fireworks explode above the Washington Monument. It doesn’t get any better than that.
This year we are headed to Michigan to spend the week with family. We’ll be missing this city on this holiday but we will bring our patriotism with us and get decked out in our Americana to show our excitement.
Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!
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