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Share your memories, ideas, and fun ways for celebrating the Fourth of July.

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One of my most memorable Fourth of July celebrations was when we woke up at 4:30 in the morning and watched the fireworks on Santa Monica beach. We brought our tape recorder and listened to music and marches, and everybody came over and sang with us. -- Ellen

We invited a few families over to our home last Fourth of July for the traditional BBQ and a free fireworks show at the top of our street. It was a sweltering hot day, well over 100 degrees so we got out the wading pool for the wee ones as the ladies were able to supervise and sit and catch up on some long needed adult conversation. The men congregated by the BBQ to prepare the coals and make sure that the meat was just right. We then ate at picnic tables outside as we watched the sun slowly set and waited for darkness….but it still wasn’t dark enough yet for fireworks… We needed another activity to keep the kids entertained as they waited so we filled up a million neon colored water balloons. We made sure that even the tiniest soldiers in this water balloon battle was armed with the same number of balloons as the big kids…Balloons went flying through the night air and exploded against other kids, Luigi the elderly pug dog, garden plants…you name it…At one point, this mom screamed out, “NOT IN THE HOUSE! NO WATER BALLOONS IN THE HOUSE!!!” ….But it STILL wasn’t dark enough yet. What to do??? Granny, to the rescue. When Granny was able to shop, she shopped hard at her favorite of all stores, the Ninety Nine Cent Store, which resulted in a house filled to the brim of every holiday decoration you could imagine. Granny had gifted us a number of foam Statue of Liberty crowns for the kids to wear, glittered red, white, and blue top hats for the adults, and small cloth American flags…It was now time for props and photo opportunities…Everyone had to wear a silly hat and hold a flag to commemorate this special day…That did the trick and helped add to the scrapbook. It finally was pitch black outside and our cue to grab the flashlights and hike up the trailhead to the top of the crest for the best view of free fireworks in town. Blankets and a picnic basket also made the journey as we hiked up the bumpy dirt road. The kids squealed with delight as they scrambled to find the perfect viewing spot and yelled out, “Here! Here! Here! Let’s sit here!!!” Everyone sat Indian style as we waited…the first “Hsssss” followed by a “Pop” led to a purple mushroom of cascading color ….and the show began…Everyone cheered as they watched. The little ones yelled out the names of the colors and from time to time plugged their ears as fireworks went off in a flurry in the town below for the next hour .-- Amy B.
My brother and I flew to Washington DC on Friday, July 2nd, to visit my daughter, who lives on Arlington and works in DC. We decided to go for the whole experience. We took the Metro into town and found a place on the parade route, right across from the American History Smithsonian. It was only 11:00, but already about 90 degrees. It was a good thing we brought plenty of cold water. After the parade, we made our way to the National Mall for a picnic lunch and some shade. When we had rested and cooled off, we toured the war memorials and the Lincoln memorial. As evening approached, we moved our blanket to a spot better situated for viewing the fireworks They began promptly at dusk, and what a show it was. I can't image a better way to spend the 4th than watching fireworks from the base of the George Washington Monument with the Lincoln Memorial in the background, and a band playing patriotic music while the fireworks exploded over the Reflecting Pool. It was fabulous. Getting home on the Metro, however, was another adventure. -- Terry Treman

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