For many Americans, the Fourth of July is a
grillin’, drinkin’ and setting off $300 fireworks extravaganza.
It’s the same for my family, except for the fireworks because my dog is terrified of any noise louder than a piece of paper can make.
On the Fourth of July, my dad grills shish kebabs and corn on the cob while my mom cuts up watermelon slices for our friends and family. As American as our celebration is, the Fourth of July is even more meaningful for my family than most.
When I was four, my parents and I moved from Ukraine to the U.S. They, like many immigrants, wanted to live somewhere without persecution. They wanted a place where everyone has an opportunity.
When you move to a different country, there's a tendency to head into one of two extremes: that of rejecting your old culture or rejecting your new one.
Luckily, my family found a balance. We still prefer vodka to beer and speak Russian at home, but my parents have embraced American pop culture. I’m not sure of any other family that owns every season of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
And like any other good American, we really celebrate the Fourth of July. On the surface, it seems like any other family get-together. A relaxed pool party, plenty of food, and old friends.
The Fourth is like my family’s Thanksgiving. It’s our chance to realize how lucky we are to be in a country where change is possible, where hope is not a vapid dream, where democracy is something real.