American flagsWelcome to Independence Day 2011 in the United States. I have always appreciated the expressions of patriotic joy and fun associated with this federal holiday. For the most part, commercialism has not taken over the festivities, and in every neighborhood in which I have lived, a genuine patriotic joy has permeated this three-day weekend. Over the years whether celebrating Independence Day on the West Coast, in the Midwest, or on the East Coast, I have been delighted to find joyous celebrations in my midst ranging from fireworks to picnics to fairs to parades to concerts to baseball games, and more.

As a youngster, I recall attending a parade in a nearby town and waving a flag while sporting the requisite red, white, and blue attire, of course. Swimming with my siblings and enjoying yummy foods added to the festivities in those days, as did watching the “Capitol Fourth” on television. To me, that televised special was always a very. big. deal. Fast forward a decade or two and I actually got to enjoy the Capitol Fourth in Washington, D.C. live! And there have been many other fun celebrations before and after that D.C. adventure.

This year, whether you’re hosting a Fourth of July party, serving up some delicious eats to family and friends in the comfort of your backyard, or planning Independence Day festivities to enjoy with others in your community, I wish you a fabulous and memorable holiday. Cheers!

* Photo by R. Firman