We have missed a few fourths of July while living out of the country. We tried to make up for it: a bunch of Americans gathered together to have a barbecue at someone's house, and as charming as it was - it just was not the same. We have also had our share of lovely rooftop viewings of fireworks or sitting at the park watching a parade.
But the most spectacular 4th for me by far was several years ago. A customer of my then employer is a towing company. It drays large ocean vessels in New York harbor. The towing company was generous enough to share their vessels with us, each year, so that we could participate in a tour of New York Harbor. My company used to have a lottery to see who would get to go. The year I was chosen I had to go on a business trip. Granted the trip was to Italy but still my heart sank, knowing that I was going to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Miraculously enough the next year my name was called again. Nothing was stopping my husband and I from going, we planned our outfits carefully, and waited with anticipation.
So many people had participated in the lottery that our hosts actually sailed two vessels that night with 60 of us on each. We got to the pier that night and there was a mammoth barbecue with anything you would want to eat.
At 7:30 the vessels boarded. The second vessel even had a dj. So there was much dancing waiting for the fireworks. And at 9:00, with tears in my eyes and my husband's arms around me, I saw one of the greatest sites ever. The New York skyline lit up to proclaim to all how proud we are, despite our differences and our faults. The tears streaming down my face were for my relatives, in fact my own mother, who had spent time in Ellis island to afford me that moment which will always be frozen in my heart.