“Now my family has a cookout, and sometimes we go to a parade. Growing up though, about the time when my brother was two years old, my mother told him that all the fireworks were people celebrating his birthday because his birthday was on July 3rd. The funny outcome was he believed it until he was in first grade!”   -Sandy L.

“I love all our family get-togethers to celebrate the Fourth. It has been a family tradition for 71 years straight, and it will be missed big time this year [due to covid-19].”   -Ann W.

“Growing up, the Fourth of July was always my favorite holiday. All of my extended family lived out of state, and every July 4th my father’s side of the family had a large family reunion, which we would travel to attend. It was the one time each year I got to see all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. That week was even better because we were all together in the same place at the same time for several days. On Independence Day, we would all dress in red, white, and blue, including gear from year’s past. Every year one of my aunts would try to find something new and patriotic to purchase in bulk to share—Uncle Sam hats, sunglasses, baseball caps, necklaces, garters, leis, bracelets, flags, party horns, and more! It was such fun going to watch the parade together in the morning from the curb in front of my grandmother’s condo. In the afternoon I loved going to our family picnic at my cousin’s house. I enjoyed listening to everyone share stories, family news, and jokes. In more recent years we added contests to the picnic, such as for who brought the best casserole or best dessert. Then in the evening we would all go together to watch the fireworks along the lakefront of Lake Michigan. When one of my cousins was about three years old, I remember giggling as he exclaimed something about every single firework, ‘Oooh! What a biggie! Look! How pretty! WOW!...’ As my grandmother’s generation have all passed on, and now some of my father’s generation too, I cherish these memories and getting to pass them on to younger generations.”   -Laurel L.


“My favorite Fourth of July event is always the parade and standing to cheer for veterans.”   -Roberta G.

“My gramp lives next door to a retired fire chief in Rhode Island. Every year for the 4th, the ‘grown-ups’ built a structure made from old scrap wood that they’d collected for a bonfire all the way at the back of the property. The structure was always something topical—one year they hid ‘Osama bin Wooden’ in a ‘cave.’ Another year they built a replica of a nearby suspension bridge that was coming down for a myriad of political reasons, so it’d been a big joke that year. It is always something goofy!”   -Kathy B.

“My niece was born on the Fourth of July. She is my little firecracker, and we are very close. My sister has a cookout every year, and I always look forward to it because the entire family gets together.”   -Gena F.

“My dad taught my brother and me how to use a cardboard box to slide down a grassy hill on The Cumberland River. We were waiting in a huge line for the Nashville fireworks, and the time passed quickly with a lot of fun.”   -Reneé D.

“As a child, my 4th of July was spent at the beach for breakfast and then at the family farm later in the day. My mother would plan an elaborate morning picnic with bacon, eggs, toast, pancakes, and cereal. My mother’s side of the family would join us at a picnic table inside Presque Isle State Park. We would have breakfast and then go for a refreshing swim in Lake Erie. It is a beautiful place, even today, to visit and to take a swim.

Of course, the Fourth of July was always a day my father had off from his work at the post office. Therefore, he also wanted to head to the farm after breakfast and the beach to join his side of the family in work there. We would go to the farm in Platea, Pennsylvania (a 30-minute drive from our home in Erie, Pennsylvania) in the 1978 blue Ford F-150. There were cows and crops in the fields. I don’t remember exactly what tasks we were doing by July 4th (the corn was supposed to be ‘knee high by the 4th of July’), but I can guarantee it was a very long, hot day. Mom would have brought us a late lunch or early dinner with grandma joining us too. My grandfather, my father, my uncle, and my cousins spent the day together. Usually something broke down, a fence needed repaired, and the animals needed fed. A lot of times I remember running through the fields to pass a message or to deliver a tool to fix a tractor as a little girl.

By the evening, we were begging to be done. We wanted to go home. My cousins and I were really worried, as the day wore on, that we would not get back into Erie to see the fireworks at 10 p.m. There were times when we watched them, as we sat in the bed of the Ford pickup, from a very far distance as we were not going to make it. I was always grateful if we could both see them and hear them. They were beautiful and I know I loved the ‘shambattle’ at the end. Those were the days!”   -Beth S.

Every one of us has memories and traditions that are special to us. We all have a unique story to tell. Part of our legacy is getting to share our story with the people around us who are important to us. We encourage you this week to share your own special July 4th memories and traditions with those you love, whether in person, in writing, via video, with photos, or over the telephone.

Do you know your family and friends’ favorite holiday memories and traditions? Do they know yours? Let LifeBio help you document their biographies and your autobiography, including these memories and more. Contact us online at https://www.lifebio.org/, via email at info@lifebio.com, or by calling 1-866-LIFEBIO (1-866-543-3246).