Yesterday was one of those weird moments for me. I’m in Canada. It’s just a day here. But it’s a holiday in the U.S. I had to go in to work and a couple people asked me what I was doing there. But it’s not like there’s anything special to do on the 4th in Montreal. And fireworks are a pretty common experience on my street.
I still cling to some U.S. holidays, like a November thanksgiving. But I’ve more or less given up on the 4th as a holiday while in Canada. It’s not a bad deal, since i pick up the 1st and St-Jean-Baptiste Day in return.
Meanwhile, I notice one Canadian blogger went to check out a 4th of July parade.
True confessions, the 4th was never that big a holiday for me. Sure, as a friend put it yesterday “every country has a birthday” but the meaning of patriotism in the U.S. is so twisted into wars I don’t support that it’s been a contradictory event for as long as I can remember.
On the other hand, I did always like fireworks. Marching band music once a year wasn’t that bad either. And watching that guy accidentally ash his cigar into his girfriend’s hair while we all stood on the capitol steps (in Washington D.C., 1996) watching fireworks across the capitol mall is a priceless memory.
I’m the same– I could take or leave the 4th of July.
But I did have a wonderful firework experience back when I was a grad student in Philadelphia.
A friend of mine was a tour guide at Eastern State Penitentiary, a huge early 19th century panopticon of a prison that had become a museum of sorts. It was still crumbling and spooky. And pitch black. Walking up to the lookout tower with our flashlights felt like an adventure.
But once up, we had a 360 degree of the city and were able to watch distant fireworks over both the delaware and the schyukill rivers.
And when the fireworks over the Art Museum (4 blocks away) started, it felt like they were right on top of us.
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