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Celebrating Independence Day in America in 2019

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For the Fourth of July, we’re highlighting some of our favorite Pacific Standard stories on expressions of patriotism and American identity.

The Fourth of July (or the Second of July, if we’re being historically accurate), is a holiday with a seemingly uncomplicated purpose: to come together and celebrate the United States’ independence. The people who fought for freedom from Britain in the 18th century were known as patriots, a category that has evolved to include a much wider set of people and beliefs in a country that has become home to more than 329 million people.

For this year’s Independence Day, Pacific Standard is re-examining some past stories that highlight various expressions of patriotism and American identity, from the traditional to the naked.

How I Cheated My Way Into Arlington National Cemetery

In this personal essay, historian Jacqui Shine recalls her participation in the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery–an experience she was granted because her mother wrote and won an essay contest in her name. From this, Shine draws an important conclusion about half-hearted participation in patriotic rituals that ultimately influenced her life path.

I’ve come to understand that when we participate in expressions of patriotism we don’t understand, they ring hollow, whether we do it because it’s what our mothers wanted or what we think our forefathers wanted. It’s either ironic or entirely appropriate that I became an historian, and a U.S. historian at that: I’ve devoted my life to trying to understand the stories we tell about this country and the rituals of grief and celebration we conduct.



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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !