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My Favorite 4th

I remember the summer of 1976, this year as one of the finest of my life. For some reason I spent most of the time with my fathers parents (my grandparents) that year. It was a the bicentennial summer and my grandfather, Paul Aylward, was a delegate to the Democratic convention in New York. My grandfather was a country lawyer/farmer from Ellsworth, Kansas who was a life long Democrat. He had run for the open U.S. Senate seat in 1960 and lost in a close election. My grandfather was one of the first Jimmy Carter delegates, I'm not really sure why, since I was only 12 years old at the time. Maybe it was the farmer connection with Carter, who was a peanut farmer. We stayed in the same hotel as Carter and I attended at least one session of the convention.

I spent July 4th that year in Boston with my aunt and uncle and two cousins. I did all the American history stuff (Lexington, Concord, Paul Revere's Ride, etc), but the highlight was the Tall Ships on July 4th and the fireworks celebration that evening. My memory of where we watched the ships and fireworks from is hazy, but it was near water. I doubt that I will ever see a Independence Day celebration as festive or special as that one.

I'll always remember that summer, for the Tall Ships, the bicentennial, and to be included in the political life of my grandfather, may he rest in peace.


Comments (3)

I remember July 4th, 1976 t... (Below threshold)
John:

I remember July 4th, 1976 too, as I flew back to LA from England that day. I was born in 1963, so I guess I'm a year older than you??

My family had been in England visiting my mom's side (she is British). But then we flew back on 7/4/76, and it was quite a party. You mentioned Lexington & Concord. That whole Minuteman "shot-heard-round the world" thing happened on John Buttrick's farm. John was my great-great-great grandfather, and my family's ties with Concord go back so far that we practically own the place.

Anyway, happy Independence Day. And happy memories of 1976 too.

I remember that July 4th as... (Below threshold)
jen:

I remember that July 4th as well. I was 9 and we lived in the Washington, DC, suburbs (I live here now, but in the years prior to 1975 we had lived in England and the west coast - I had a Navy father). Anyway, what I remember is that the town I lived in painted the fire hydrants to look like little colonial people. After having lived in the UK, where they don't celebrate July 4th (did you know that? :wink:), I was amazed that our country was 200 years old. To me it didn't seem that old.

On another note, when we were in England we did celebrate July 4th - there were several American families on the Royal Air Force base that we lived - we all gathered for a barbeque/picnic and fireworks in someone's backyard. I have no idea where they got the fireworks, but it was special.

All I ask is a tall ship, a... (Below threshold)

All I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.

My father took us to Brooklyn, I think, to watch the ships go through New York Harbor. I remember the ships. We went there during the day, and then back home, and then to Hoboken or Jersey City to watch the fireworks that night.

That year, as I recall, all the local towns in NJ did NOT have fireworks on the Fourth, figuring eveyrone would be watching New York's. They had them the next night.

They were probably right. And thanks for making me think of those memories.

Best fireworks ever were the Statue of Liberty's Centennial fireworks, viewed from the NJ side of the water. Second best were the Macy's fireworks on the East River about five years ago, viewed from the FDR Drive near the South Street Seaport, and reflected in the glass of the skyscrapers behind us. Right near the WTC, of course.

Sigh.




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