It’s a bizarre instance that probably more British people know the date of American Independence Day than know/celebrate Britain’s patron saint George on April 23rd.

Especially when you consider exactly what it is Independence Day commemorates!

Nevertheless, July 4th is drilled into our national psyche for better or worse.

I’ve had my own flirtations with Independence Day. Roland Emmerich’s classic 1996 film was one of my first favourite movies – or at least it was the first time I encountered the “America saves the world” approach of Hollywood!

As for this photo, well, if you are an English patriot, look away now…


In my defence, I was having a particularly fantastic trip to Canada at this point and my sole experience of the States was a half hour drop over the border at Niagara Falls.

My favourite Independence Day moment though came five years ago on the beach at San Diego.

The day began with red, white and blue pancakes in the hostel (strawberries, cream and blueberries) before Rick and I headed to the beach to soak up the sunshine. We avoided a weed-smoking hipster who tried to get us to a dodgy sounding party and made friends with two Turkish girls who believed that shouting “JoeIsGay” was an English way of clinking drinks together.

The beach was packed with American holiday makers all cramming in to watch the sunset fireworks. And a pretty spectacular display it was – prompting patriotism from all angles.

A patriotic bunch

A true patriot

After that, the scene descended into complete anarchy with, of all things, a full scale marshmallow fight across the beach. Rick and I plunged straight into it, exhausting our copious supplies of marshmallows with accompanying shouts of “For Queen and Country” against our American foes. Think we infuriated some Californians. Excellent.

Rick pummeling some unsuspecting locals

Rick pummeling some unsuspecting locals

Look at the caption on this photo.

Ah Independence Day… I’d love to be with you on the other side of the Atlantic again some day.