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Independence Day in the United States

Posted in Culture, Philippines, United States on July 4, 2022

Independence DayJuly 4 is the official holiday for Independence Day in the United States. The United States declared independence from England on July 4, 1776. Due to time commitments and work constraints, many Americans observe it before or after the holiday.

The American Independence Day

Most Americans celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and backyard barbecues. Well, at least those who were born in the United States. Others, like my wife and my older son, celebrate it as well, even though they weren’t born in the United States.

Since it’s a federal holiday, it’s a day off from work for federal government employees. If it falls on a weekend, the day off will end up being on Monday. There is much more about the holiday at Wikipedia than I care to talk about, but other employers give days off without being government-related.

I like patriotic movies. One of the movies with the Independence Day title (from 1996) featured one of the most patriotic speeches I can remember, and it wasn’t even solely directed at Americans.

Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in this history of mankind.

Mankind, that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests.

Perhaps it’s fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation.

We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist. And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice,

“We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!”

In fact, I believe I’ll watch the movie for the umpteenth time today, just to celebrate. Don’t tell me it’s a terrible movie. Since there are no American bases left in the Philippines, fireworks won’t be going off anywhere. The only time fireworks go off in the Philippines (as far as I know) is on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

The Philippines

I live in the Philippines, so I have to mention Independence Day in the Philippines, at least once.

The Treaty of Manila had the United States relinquish sovereignty of the Philippines on July 4, 1946. The Philippines doesn’t observe that day. It observes June 12, 1898, as its Independence Day. That’s when the Philippines declared independence from Spain.

I won’t get into the politics of the United States occupation or the details of the conflict that lasted longer than it should have. It happened long before I was born, and very few people alive at the end of that period are still around. My mother-in-law, born in 1935, barely remembers the Japanese occupation in the 1940s.

Historians, regardless of which side of the conflict they represent, tend to exaggerate everything. Trying to glean the truth from all that mess is an exercise in futility.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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