About the Author: Tom Weinz serves as the dedicated Foreign Service Liaison Officer for Pacific Partnership 2010.
Last year, during our Pacific Partnership mission to Samoa, Pacific Partnership 2009 celebrated the Fourth of July at the gracious Robert Louis Stevenson mansion/museum in Apia. Pacific Partnership 2010 is currently about to arrive in Singapore, where we will say goodbye to about 250 of the personnel who have completed the first half of the mission, and welcome approximately the same number of replacements to carry on the mission to Indonesia and Timor Leste. Both departures and new arrivals will be in Singapore for the festivities, since the Fourth of July celebrations will be held on Saturday, the third (the custom of the American Association of Singapore is to celebrate the Fourth on the closest Saturday to the actual date, since the exact date is usually a work day).
Many Americans might be surprised to hear what a popular celebration the Fourth of July is with non-Americans around the world. Hotdogs, hamburgers, mustard, ketchup (not “catsup” please!), potato salad, and chips -- these are real American food, at least in the minds of millions of Fourth of July groupies around the globe.
The American Association of Singapore was founded in 1917. Over the years, it has developed a reputation for memorable Fourth of July celebrations that attract thousands of people. Admission is free, open to all, and classic fireworks displays are featured. Musical performances run from Mid-Life Crisis, a local group, to the U.S. Navy band traveling on Mercy. Kids take part in traditional local games, or learn to make ethnic souvenirs, Chinese knots, Malay ketupats (a kind of rice dumpling wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch) or Indian flower wrist garlands. What could be more American than a Harley -- Davidson tent, where the whole family can be photographed on a “hog.” Or, for that matter, the Cargill tent, that hosts underprivileged children and adults to share in the joy and celebration of the Fourth of July. And what could be more fitting than to celebrate our country's independence with foreign friends in the middle of a humanitarian mission where we share our country's blessings with others.
You can trace the Mercy's journey from its initial announcement to preparations for launch, setting sail, arrival in Vietnam, work in Vietnam, farewell to Vietnam, arrival in Cambodia, and community outreach in Cambodia.
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