Luma Simms is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; her essays, articles, and book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications including National Affairs, Law and Liberty, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, First Things, Public Discourse, the Institute for Family Studies, and others.

The Immigrant Mind: An Immigrant Celebrates the Fourth of July

The memories are faint, partly because my early years in America were so traumatic, and I’ve worked hard to shut them out. There was a profound sense of being lost, which overtook me soon after our arrival in the country; it has faded over the years, but it has never left. The second striking and enduring sentiment was the drive to become American – to fit in, into my new forever country, America.

Our first Fourth of July celebration, my father reminded me, was at a cul-de-sac neighborhood barbecue with fireworks and all. Pure Americana. My father was invited by a coworker. Hamburgers and hot dogs were new foods to me. I liked them! And of course there was Coca-Cola; no, there wasn’t one with the name “Luma” on it; back then America had not fully succumbed to such individualism. Coke cans and bottles came in what today would be called “classic” labeling. I knew 7-Up and Coca-Cola because we had those in Iraq and Greece – and I loved them.

The years following were spent mostly picnicking at Laguna Beach in Orange County, Calif.; we would stay until dark and watch the fireworks. But the most memorable celebration of the Fourth of July was the year we received a free two-night stay at the Best Western on Lake Tahoe. My dad had gotten some kind of deal for buying a brand new Panasonic console TV. So we drove up to Lake Tahoe from Southern California and had our mini vacation. I still remember sitting on the beach of the lake watching the fireworks dance to the music blaring from the big speakers strewn across the sand.

Read the rest at The Philos Project

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