I think it might be a slightly special day somewhere in the world today; I just can’t think what… but, of course, I’m only joking! It’s American Independence Day.
Understandably, Americans love celebrating Independence Day. A national holiday, Independence Day celebrates the signing of the (very originally named!) Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776. A day to celebrate all things American, and definitely not to drink tea.
I come to this holiday with a British perspective, because to us its somewhat baffling. We don’t have an Independence Day or anything vaguely like it – so the idea is truly alien to us.
Of course, there is the tiny aspect that July 4th represents Independence from Britain. Yeah … there’s no escaping that we used to be that Empire.
So, in Britain, Independence Day and the 4th July is very odd to us.
I’ve had American friends ask me what we do to celebrate the 4th July. The answer is, honestly; nothing. My more sarcastic British friends offer up more unkind responses such as “celebrate getting rid of you lot”. Not so as, of course, we still love our American cousins even when we have our familial disagreements. Don’t take such sarcastic responses too much to heart!
This 4th of July, though, Britain celebrated in our own way with a little display of national pride of our own – the coincidentally timed naming ceremony of the brand new aircraft carrier Royal Navy flagship the HMS Queen Elizabeth II. Named by our dearest Queen HRH Elizabeth II herself (naming a battleship after yourself – that’s when you know you’ve really made it!).
Maybe this kind of display (sorry for linking the Daily Mail, a truly awful newspaper, but it does love its pretty pictures of these things) is what its like to celebrate the 4th July American style. Maybe we need a little more national celebration like our American cousins – you guys really know how to do that.
To all my American friends out there though, a truly happy Independence Day.
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