I believe this is the first 4th of July that I didn't spend sitting on a roof or lawn watching fireworks. Even when I wasn't in the United States, I still managed to be somewhere around other Americans who were celebrating.
If there's one thing I can't always abide by, it's "memorial" holidays. Whether it's Independence Day, Memorial Day or Veteran's Day, there has been an obvious shift in meaning. It's become a day off from work for most, where picnics are arranged and friends and families gather for drinks and BBQing. I'm not going to be hypocritical and say that I don't enjoy those days off or the abundance of grill-charred food, but I also don't want to forget the reason we have it to begin with.
I have the tendency of choosing when I'm patriotic, so I don't particularly get excited over 4th of July but you'll see me get moma-bear defensive when people bring up the military. I have no real pride for Independence Day and goes the same for Panama's. I wasn't around at that time so I don't feel directly effected. But I can tell you that one of my favorite country songs that tends to be played loudly on 4th of July is, "I'm Proud to Be An American" by Lee Greenwood. Makes me tear up every time I sing it. Yeah, not sure why, but I think it's more so the love in his words that are reflected in the verses that get me a little emotional... or maybe it's seeing large groups of people drunkenly singing together, arms over their shoulders, swaying back and forth smiling at one another. Yep, that's it, I get emotional over other people getting emotional. So I'm not a total downer when it comes to US holidays, but if I spend it alone, I'm not particularly disappointed I didn't make it out to witness rowdy groups of bro-toppers and cut-off shorty shorts.
So today I spent most of my day working on assignments, taking the pup for a rainy walk, and sipping on Chai Green tea whilst listening to Etta James out my window from a neighbor's home. My roommate, Sarah, made a lovely American fruit pie which I happily snagged a slice from. I'll support any form of art based around cooking, at least when it's tastey!
Overall, I miss a few things to say the least. I have been doing my best to keep busy, but deployment has been weighing on my heart. I thought my experiences with my father's deployments would ease the ride of this current one, but there was so much support and I was a lot younger. The emotions I go through daily make me appreciate the strength my mother had when she was juggling two pipsqueaks and a husband deployed during the early beginnings of the war. I only hope to channel my own courage to continue moving forward and be just as strong and supportive.