Posted at 02:31 PM ET, 07/04/2011

Happy Fourth of July!

(Ron Sherman/Getty Images)
As a reformed expat, every traditional American holiday has a renewed luster for me now that I’m back home. Everywhere else in the world, it’s just another Monday. Here, it’s the celebration of our country; the brilliant sheen of summer; the excuse to shout and cheer and drink and eat in excess; and a day to relish in all the great American traditions.

Of course, in this great muddle of a country, those traditions vary wildly from town to city and family to neighbor. It was bubble gum ice cream for me in San Diego — the one day my healthy hippie parents indulged us with sugary treats. It was neighborhood potlucks for my uncle as a child in post-World War II in Los Angeles. It was clambakes for my friend Tracy who grew up in northern New York on the water, in her parents’ seafood restaurant. It was deviled eggs and barbecue for Maryann from Richmond, Va.. “You have deviled eggs with everything,” she said.

Whatever you’re eating, wherever you are, I hope you’re having a gloriously good time. Happy United States of America! Happy Fourth of July!

What most of you think is the unofficial song of the day:

What my dad thinks should be the official song of the day:

A firework exploding as seen from a firework exploding:

By  |  02:31 PM ET, 07/04/2011

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