About the Author: Luke Ortega serves as Assistant Information Officer for Social Media at the U.S. Embassy Brasilia in Brazil.
Among flowing banners of red, white, and blue, a constellation of Brazilian officials, diplomats, business, and cultural leaders celebrated 234 years of America's independence at the Ambassador's residence. With the lights of Brasilia shining over Brasilia's Lago Paranoa, guests enjoyed gourmet presentations of American fare such as hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, and chicken wings, and jammed to local rock band Engel Espiritos.
"Our celebrations are not characterized by...shows of force,“ said U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon, "but with barbeques, baseball, and fireworks.”
Ambassador Shannon lifted a glass of champagne and with more than 400 guests, toasted the friendship between the United States and Brazil, as fireworks lit the night sky. It may have been a continent away from Washington, DC, but for a moment, it felt like we were home on the Fourth of July.
Embassy Fourth of July celebrations are a great chance to make new friends, like the lawyer from the Brazilian national prosecutor's office who just returned from an International Visitor program to discuss the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction; the American professor happy to have a traditional July Fourth celebration so far from home after a week of outreach to Brazilian students; and the Brazilian corporate executive whose work for an American company not only strengthens the U.S. economy, but builds a culture of American corporate responsibility in Brazil.
Anyone left wondering why we would celebrate the Fourth of July on June 30 probably hasn't turned on a television anytime in the last month. Ambassador Shannon was adamant that a respect for Brazil include a respect for Brazilian World Cup soccer, and no one (not least of whom the Ambassador) wanted to miss a game. In spite of Brazil's heartbreaking loss to the Netherlands (2-1), the sheer volume of good food, fun sports, and loud fireworks in Brasilia and around the country this July would suggest that the Brazilian people are happy to celebrate right alongside us.
Connect with the U.S. Mission to Brazil through Facebook and Twitter.Related Entry: Secretary Clinton Delivers U.S. Independence Day Message