Monday, July 14, 2014

4th July and American Patriotism

For the 4th July weekend we headed to the beautiful town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The day kicked off with a parade in the sunshine. The feeling was of straightforward family fun, with floats from Routt County 'redneck games' to the Routt county Republicans throwing sweets and chocolate out into the crowd of excited children wearing their red white and blue - outfits sometimes completed with a cowboy hat or cowboy boots.

In the UK however, patriotism is not only avoided, but when displayed in excess is almost embarrassing. Maybe it is the connection that patriotism inevitably has with the Royal family - a part of our culture that a lot of Britons feel unconnected to, or maybe it's the sense of celebrating 'past glory' that makes us cringe. Either way, donning red, white and blue has very different connotations depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on!

Even though I am British I did not receive one negative comment the whole day. And maybe it's because, despite the fact that Independence day is celebrating an historical event, the celebration of Americanness really feels like a celebration of the promise and principles that the U.S was founded on and not just it's history. Or maybe it's the beer... But the 4th July had a sense of optimism and inclusivity that is so certain of itself and so infectious I found myself whole heartedly cheering for America when the fireworks went off. Like wise, when everyone in the crowded Denver bar I was in put their hands on their hearts and belted out the national anthem during America vs. Belgium in this year's World Cup - I felt more impelled to sing along than I ever have to 'God save the Queen'...

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