This time of year is synonymous with celebrations surrounding 4th of July, conjuring images of picnics and barbeques with family and friends, long summer evenings and, of course, fireworks. We’ve asked members of our community to share their memories of one of the most treasured American holidays on our calendar.

Growing up, the 4th of July was fireworks and parties. We knew why it mattered in terms of patriotism, but it didn’t have that deeper meaning. That changed five years ago when we moved to Singapore when we became disconnected from our American routines. Then we found out that the American Association hosts a 4th of July party and we jumped at the chance to go, and we have come back every year since. It always gives a special meaning to the occasion in ways we never would have appreciated without relocating here.

Bill Poorman, AAS Vice President, Akron, Ohio.

As a kid, my family focused on fireworks on the night of July 4 as a community party in a street in my neighborhood. As most families on my street had kids, each year we had joint fireworks parties in the evenings after the sunset. We would take turns to see whose fireworks went the farthest or highest, and then see the other fireworks in other parts of the neighborhood.  When the rules changed for fireworks in different states, we couldn't celebrate the same. I hadn't really returned to it until AAS.

Michael Borchert, AAS President, San Antonio, Texas.

The 4th of July as a kid meant decorating my bike for a neighborhood parade and then heading up to our club's celebration that included swimming, barbeque and a greased watermelon competition. The fourth of July as an adult has become more sentimental to me and a celebration of patriotism. 

Karen Shively, AAS member since 2017, Dallas, Texas.

The 4th of July was a really big event in my wife's home town. My in-laws' house is a block of the route of the largest parade in the state ant they always host a big cookout in their yard for lunch after. After sundown there are two public and numerous impressive private fireworks displays visible from just about everywhere in town. It's always a great day full of family and friends. This year we're looking forward to celebrating with our friends from AAS and the whole community here for the first time.

Scott Paintner, AAS member since 2017, Mandan, North Dakota.

For me, the 4th of July represents the American spirit - brilliant, explosive and powerful.  It also represents the feeling of freedom – a celebration of fireworks, BBQ, and kids running around with sparklers. What I miss from home are the flags are prominently placed on lawns, buildings, houses and even on cars, showing the proud unity of our United States.

Neil Vallestero, AAS member since 2017, Ridgewood, New Jersey.

When I think back to how I celebrated the 4th of July during my childhood, I think of the sailboat parade that took place every summer at our island club. Boats of all shapes and sizes would break out their most festive red, white and blue decorations, from streamers to flags to pinwheels, and dress up their boats before sailing back and forth across the harbor. To enjoy the holiday festivities, the whole town would come out to watch the parade before the boats headed out of the harbor for an afternoon sail.

Allie Maurillo, AAS family member since 2011, New York City, New York.

The 4th of July has always been a special holiday spent celebrating with friends and family. Since moving to Singapore in 2015, I have had the opportunity to attend the American Association of Singapore’s 4th of July Celebration, which has been a wonderful way to celebrate the day in my home away from home. This event is especially meaningful because it combines many of the patriotic traditions familiar from my childhood with chance to share in a day of family fun with families from the US, Singapore and across the world.

Sarah Walston, AAS member since 2015, Raleigh, North Carolina.

To me, 4th of July means celebration and community and, growing up in the US, it marks the peak of the summer holidays. I have fond memories of days with my family and friends, having picnics and playing games, with the day beginning with the community parade and ending with the fireworks in the park. Now, though, being so far away from home, 4th of July has a deeper meaning for me and when I hear our national anthem at AAS events, I can’t help but feel a little bit tearful and a little bit proud.

Christi Novomesky, AAS General Manager, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Join the American Association of Singapore on Saturday, June 29 at Singapore American School for this year’s 4th of July Celebration! For information, click here.