ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Do they have the Fourth of July in other countries?

Updated on July 1, 2016
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.

Yes, they do, but they only celebrate the Fourth of July in other countries when America has done something for them. And it better be pretty recently.

In the summer of 1991 a lot of non-Americans were celebrating the Fourth, especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The US of A had just borne the heaviest load in pushing Sadaam Hussein's forces back into Iraq, and, thanks in no small part to CNN bringing the war and the build up to it into every home, not only in America, but also around the globe, for a few shining moments, we were the heroes - Americans.

This was pre-9/11, almost two decades post Vietnam, Ronald Reagan's VP was in the White House, and the world wasn't in very bad shape. Yes, we'd had Libya's Gaddafi to contend with, Panama and Grenada skirmishes, but most American schoolchildren couldn't name the characters in any of those mini-dramas. Then on August 2, 1990, Sadaam Hussein decided to enlarge his dictatorship by the size of the Emirate of Kuwait. CNN had just set up shop around the world trying to capture the international business market on its new-fangled cable television network, and they had the pure, unadulterated, dumb luck to be in the right place at the right time to catch all the action on their new toy, placing themselves at the top of the breaking news pyramid. The 24-hour news cycle was born.

The relatively clean (for everyone but the Iraqis), surprisingly quick war came down to 100 hours of great public relations for the US. Ten years later we'd go back to the region for the bloody, life-claiming, injury-laden (as predicted in 1991) difficult task of removing Sadaam and his forces. Keeping up the good will for America became a more challenging task. But in 1991 everybody loved us. Well, almost everybody.

I happened to be in Saudi Arabia with my husband and family as permanent party to a U.S. military organization that had been assisting the Saudis for 20 years. On that Fourth of July we found ourselves, with many other ex-patriots representing the freedom-loving countries of the world, at a reception at the British embassy in the Kingdom's capital of Riyadh, thrown to honor the victory known as Desert Storm. Everyone was in formal attire. My husband was in the dress blues of an Infantry officer. As only a major he was outranked, by several pay grades, by just about every other officer attending from not only America but also all our allies.

The food and libations flowed freely in keeping with the traditions of the Arab culture, complete with hor d' oeuvres , a generous buffet, and assorted sweets in abundance. People were in the mood to celebrate, and America had just handed the world a good reason to cheer.

The Arabs in the room were doing the classic conversation dance with the westerners present. This choreography is an example of cultural differences defining personal space. Those of us from the West are comfortable in a zone of personal space equal to the distance between two people who are shaking hands. Arabs greet each other with a kiss, so their zone of personal space is much closer between two people. The result when an Arab and an American or a Brit are having a conversation is the Arab steps in close when he speaks and the westerner steps back to keep the bounds of their comfort zone. You can spend an entire evening being amused watching the one step forward and one step backwards dance between people from the two cultures trying to accomplish no more than small talk.

The party was in full swing with most attendees paying more attention to the food, the conversation, and the rare opportunity to observe western women in low-cut dresses than to the initial reason for the event. When suddenly, the ringing of a bell brought the room's attention to a speaker on the podium where the orchestra was located. I don't remember the words of the introduction he made. But within seconds of him speaking, the band struck up the opening chords of "The Star Spangled Banner."

If you've never heard your country's national athem played on foreign soil, it is hard to express the emotions of the experience in words. Maybe the best way to paint the picture is to describe the reaction of the various people in the room. Imagine a large ballroom, encircled by people from almost every nation standing perfectly still and in respectful silence. Scattered among them, around the room, are Americans, standing at attention, with their right hands placed over their hearts.

"Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner still wave o're the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

Like sentries on duty, standing a solitary post until relief arrives, you can pick them out from the crowd. They are here and there around the room, lining the inner circle, a few back almost hidden among the others, a couple off to the side by themselves. The Americans, paying tribute to their homeland, to those who have fought for their freedoms, to those who have paid the price, to everything we have accomplished from landing on Plymouth Rock to landing on Omaha Beach, to landing on the moon.

For a few seconds after the strains of the music melt into the night, no one moves. The Americans remain with their hands over their hearts. The other nationals remain in silence. Finally, after the moment has been frozen into the memories of everyone present, applause erupts like fireworks bursting in the sky, complete with cheers and shouts. And not just from the Yanks. From everyone.

July 4, 1991, great night to be an American.

And on this July 4th, it's great to be an American still.



J


In Paperback by Kathleen Cochran

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      12 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Back in the day when HubPages was in its glory, you could share a hub with your followers whenever you deemed it significant. Like most of the features that made HP a writer-friendly environment, the powers-that-be put an end to that feature. Commenting on my own hub is my only option these days. With the 4th upon us, please enjoy this hub/article or whatever they decide to tag our work as at the moment. Happy 4th!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Of course! Thanks

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Mexico's is May 5th; aka "Cinco de Mayo." ;)

    • profile image

      mbuggieh 

      4 years ago

      There can only be one authentic 4th of July; only one day that celebrates what happened in the British North American colonies in 1776!

      And do, while other nations may have their own independence days, there is just one like ours; just one that celebrates the birth of the United States.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good to know - Hey that's our Veteran's Day!

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 

      5 years ago

      There is an Independence Day in Poland - on November 11th

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks Cathy! I'll have to get you a copy of the whole story - I mean picture!

    • profile image

      Cathy Gore 

      5 years ago

      As usual, girl, you painted us a picture. This one was red, white & blue!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks for adding that interesting information to this hub. I never knew about the Philippines celebration.

      You are certainly right about soldiers understanding the true meaning of freedom. They've paid the price for it.

      Welcome to my hubs, SilentReed.

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      "Ours is not to reason why,ours is but to do and die" How many soldiers gave up their life believing their Political leaders were fighting a just cause? Disillusion and psychological disorder (PTSD) seem to be the lot of many war veterans. Only those that have seen the ugly face of war can truly appreciate the meaning of the word "Freedom" To them I say "Happy 4th of July"

      In answer to the query of your title, The Philippines use to celebrate her independence on the 4th of July after the former U.S. colony was "granted" independence by the United States. A former Philippine President (Macapagal) move it back to June 12, the day the Filipinos declared their independence and began their uprising against another colonizer (Spain). This was before Admiral Dewey entered Manila Bay to "liberate" the islands during the American-Spanish war.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Of course they do, and rightly so. I was trying to be funny. Usually doesn't work. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 

      6 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Other countries have their own national days, like the US Independence Day. They just don't happen on the same, July 4th, day. I celebrated US day when I lived in the US. I don't celebrate it now that I no longer live there. My country has it's own national patriotic sort of day.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I believe you are right! Old joke -

      Thanks for the comment. It was four years of amazing experiences. I should write a book!

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      You must have had quite the experience being there. BTW, I'm pretty sure that every place that uses the Gregorian Calendar has a July 4th.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)