Americans set for summer BBQ for I-day

Americans set for summer BBQ for I-day
For most expats, the Fourth is also a time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday, and what it means to be an American.

Dubai - The Fourth of July - which marks the Declaration of Independence from the British in 1776 - is a national holiday in the United States, which many Americans spend with at family reunions, parades, baseball games, and, notably, watching fireworks.



by

Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Published: Mon 3 Jul 2017, 8:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jul 2017, 10:30 PM

As Americans in the US and around the world come together to celebrate America's Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations, local American expats are taking the day to spend time with their families and reflect on what they miss from home and what America's independence day means to them. 
The Fourth of July - which marks the Declaration of Independence from the British in 1776 - is a national holiday in the United States, which many Americans spend with at family reunions, parades, baseball games, and, notably, watching fireworks.
Despite the sweltering heat of the UAE, many American expats say they will go ahead with one of America's most prized traditions: the Fourth of July barbeque.
"The weather in the UAE on July 4 makes outdoor barbeque harder, but I have no doubt that Americans across the Emirates will strive to find their way to congregate with their compatriots somewhere near a grill," said American expat Tony Graham.
Another American, Orlando Vidal, said he ordered a "delicious and patriotic looking cake" for all his colleagues at work. "Many of my work colleagues in the UAE are British, so it'll be fun to remind them of what we went through together," he noted. 
Vidal added that while his Fourth of July will be spent working, with no fireworks, BBQ, American football or parades, he is still happy to be spending the holiday in his adopted home. 
"I miss all that, of course," he said. "But the UAE is a wonderful home away from home and if I can't be home, there's no other place I'd rather be."
Mike Singer, an American who runs a Dubai-based dash camera business, said that while his Fourth of July celebrations are a bit different than they would be back home, he and his family will still find a way to bring a touch of America to their UAE celebrations.
"Back in the States, we would have been hosting a big day of food and beverages for our friends and family. We typically try to set up an area at one of the schools that host some really awesome fireworks, we play lawn games and just relax, and then around nine when it's dark we enjoy the fireworks," he said. "We actually don't have any plans this year, which is kind of a bummer because it's always such a fun day to gather everyone together."
"I think this year we will have a mock barbeque for friends at our place and we'll cheesily throw on fireworks show recorded onto YouTube on our TV," he added.
For Singer, the occasion is also a time to spend with non-American friends and share the country's traditions with them.
"I think the best part of being an expat and away for the holiday is that people who normally wouldn't celebrate the day get to enjoy it with us as our group of friends are quite an international bunch," he said. "Either way, it definitely won't be like being at home with our family."
A deeper meaning
For most expats, the Fourth is also a time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday, and what it means to be an American.
"The Fourth of July reminds us as Americans that there were things worth fighting for, like our independence," noted Vidal. "Today, there are still many things worth fighting for - economic opportunity, justice, equality, civil rights, healthcare, peace, the rule of law. 
For Tony Graham, the holiday is about bringing Americans together, regardless of political affiliation and religious or cultural background.
"It's especially important in these highly partisan times. I hope all Americans, at home and abroad, use July 4 to remind each other that we are Americans first and that our country comes before our ideological or cultural groupings," he remarked. "We can choose to focus on the issues that divide us or we can choose to actively seek common ground and build upon points of agreement.
"Our founders designed our government to work on active civic participation, consensus, compromise and mutual respect," he added. "I hope we can reflect on this during the Fourth of July holiday."
bernd@khaleejtimes.com
 
 


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