For many, the 4th of July evokes images of cook-outs, parades, and fireworks: all to be enjoyed with family and the larger community. Some of my best 4th of July memories come from celebrations on military bases. There's just something about the William Tell overture accompanied by howitzers that just says "Happy Independence Day!" like nothing else.
This year, the 4th of July found Stretch and me in different states. Which is so much better than different continents. The kids and I are still on our extended summer migration and arrived at fellow milspouse and blogger Jody's home on the 3rd. That same day, Stretch was leaving our home to travel to Camp Lejeune so he could meet a group of Marines returning from Iraq on the 4th.
It didn't seem too odd to me to be apart for the 4th of July. (Yes, I still missed him.) He was doing something he felt he should do (and I agree that someone from the unit should be there to meet the Marines.) Jody and I took the kids to a small town parade and to see fireworks. It might be the first parade I'd ever gone to that didn't have a military presence. We all had fun and the kids especially enjoyed it because they gathered about 5 pounds of candy at the parade. Jody and I were just enjoying being able to hang out together because it has probably been almost 5 years since we last saw each other.
Part of the reason it didn't seem strange to be apart is the fact that we really haven't spent too many Foruths of July together. Last year, Stretch was working. The year before, he was in Iraq. We'd probably been married 3 or 4 years before we were able to spend this particular holiday with each other. The first time we actually had the day to spend together, we were a little lost as to what we should do. I guess it's inadvertently become our tradition to spend Independence day independently of each other.
This is one tradition we don't need to keep though.