Immigrants Reflect on Their Own Fourth of July Celebrations

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The Fourth of July is a quintessentially American holiday. But it has special significance for people who were born in other countries. For example, my grandfather.

My grandfather, Poppy, was a Holocaust survivor who eventually made his way from Germany to the United States. He was grateful for the opportunities he had here and he showed it. Every Fourth of July, he blasted patriotic music while the whole family waved American flags and paraded around the backyard.

We did this for years. Until high school, I thought that was the way every family celebrated.

And I’ve always wondered what other immigrant families do to recognize the holiday. So I walked around my neighborhood in Brooklyn Heights to find out. 


Click the audio above to hear the full story and flip through the slideshow below to see photos of the immigrants Jessica Gould spoke with.

"I moved here 17 years ago on the third of July. We landed in the evening. ... And I was very impressed that they put on this big firework display just for the fact that I arrived." - Davide Cantoni from Italy

"We bring food from home, our own country's food, and sometimes we do barbecues and all that and the kids play in the park." - Tsering Dolkar (right) from Nepal

"I worked in the American embassy for 22 years in Egypt. [The fourth] was a big party for all the Americans at American schools and colleges. It was very, very nice." - Salah Abdemmawgoud from Egypt

"The first one wasn't really fun. We didn't go out. But after a couple years I made friends, we started going to the beach, barbecueing at the beach, swimming and having fun." - Ayham Ghuraibi from Syria

"We will go to Philadelphia, visit friends and watch Fireworks." - Yu Guo from China