July 4, 2013 by tvo320
July 4th! Independence Day! The Fourth of July! So many ways to say one of my favorite holidays in America! The US! The States! I love this holiday for many reasons. A quick history lesson for the day about how Independence Day became the National Day of the United States. The United States commemorated the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 which declared independence from Great Britain. Awesome. No school or work because it’s a federal holiday. Double awesome. Lastly and the best reason is because we celebrate this holiday with family and friends at fireworks shows, parades, barbecues, picnics, hot chicken festivals, baseball games, ceremonies, and more to recognize and celebrate freedom! I also love singing patriotic songs such as America the Beautiful written by Katharine Lee Bates with melody by Samuel Ward! Some of my favorite lyrics of the song are below:
O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
Two of my favorite 4th of July celebrations include one overseas and one home in the States. In the summer of 2006, I was interning for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo for Ambassador Tom Schieffer who was so gracious to invite all the interns to the 4th of July Celebration at the Ambassador’s Residence. This was one of the most lavish 4th of July celebrations I had ever been too and many famous actors, actresses, and prominent businessmen in Tokyo and the surrounding areas were in attendance. The weather was perfect and I remember seeing tons of guests that I usually see on TV!
Then, Nashville has one of the best 4th of July celebrations. While I lived there, I convinced someone to visit me every year and all of them raved about having the best time. During the day, we’d head over to the Music City Hot Chicken Festival in East Nasty (Nashville) where you blow your head off with the hottest chicken from famous institutions such as Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish or Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Insider tip, the longest queues are the best stalls. Other restaurants and dessert places are invited and create a ‘hot’ dish as well. To cool your mouth off, Yazoo Brewery Company has a giant tent for 21+ to enjoy a local beverages such as Dos Perros, Gerst, and Sue. An amateur hot chicken competition, live music, and free watermelon make this festival worth going year after year. After spending a few hours, we’re pretty hot and sweating from the summer heat and hot chicken so we head to a friend’s pool to relax and hang out for the rest of the day. The city has a parade and when sunset rolls around, the Nashville Symphony performs to a fireworks show and it’s just the perfect way to end the day!
This year’s 4th of July was a fabulous one because I spent it with my sister, Lonnie and one of my besties from Kansai Gaidai University (KGU), Jenni! We went to Venice Beach during the day to soak up some rays in our red, white, and blues. Venice Beach is one of the best people watching spots in LA and 4th of July gave them more reason to stand out/show off! Jenni and I caught up about life, love, and everything in between. Jenni and I met on the first day of school in Japan and were inseparable after that. She’s just beautiful inside and out with a carefree spirit. A lover of the water and always striving to improve herself and find her path. We had the same host family, the Morimoto’s whom we have a great affinity.
Lonnie and I headed over to a small pool party with just us and relaxed with some sangria before going to Americafest at the Rose Bowl. For over 85 years, there is a huge family friendly festival called Americafest where people can bring picnics, tour the stadium, and tons of activities for the kiddos. When the sun fades away, the close the festival with a bang! This is the biggest fireworks show in Southern Cali and goes for about thirty minutes. I love fireworks with the unique shapes, colors and images because there is always a surprise of some sort. We didn’t stay out too late as I had to catch a super early flight back to Arkansas so it was a fab 4th! I hope that all of my international friends can come celebrate with me one year.