A Capitol Hill Fourth: How Members and Staff Celebrate America’s Birthday

Posted July 3, 2012 at 12:25pm

The Fourth of July is celebrated in every nook and cranny of the country, and lawmakers are typically back in their states and districts for the festivities.

We asked a sampling of Members and staff about their favorite traditions for the holiday. Here are some of the responses:

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.)

“Every year, I look forward to a fireworks display in one of the many communities of our area and enjoy sharing the food and fellowship that comes with spending time with my constituents.” A poll of Bishop’s staff found “rooftop barbecues and ‘A Capitol Fourth’” as the favorites.

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.)

“Fireworks on the riverfront surrounding the [Gateway] Arch creates America’s most spectacular fireworks display.” His other favorite traditions include “patriotic parades [and] enjoying family and friends with barbecue, Budweiser and baseball.”

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.)

“To march in the oldest Fourth of July parade in America, which is in Bristol, R.I., my district. It’s an incredibly wonderful tradition. My sister lives on the parade route, we go to her house afterward and eat all kinds of great food.”

Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.)

“On the Fourth of July I always think back to my childhood in a small town in Indiana. My mother chose to become an American, crossing the Atlantic from England entirely on her own and making a life for herself in Chicago. My Ohio-born dad, who has adored his immigrant wife for 60 years, would always exult jokingly on the Fourth that we were ‘celebrating our independence from the tyrannical British — except me!’”

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)

“On Independence Day, my favorite traditions are to celebrate with folks in the community at parades and by watching fireworks with my family, especially my grandkids. And Virginia is home to many notable, historic sites pertinent to our nation’s history so it’s a great place to set differences aside, share our love of country, and simply celebrate the U.S.A., our freedom and those who fight for it.”

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.)

The Kansas legislator will be spending the Fourth this year “with friends and family.” He said: “I’m also excited to be the emcee at our area fireworks show, and really look forward to celebrating the spirit of patriotism by helping conduct a naturalization ceremony in Kansas for our newest American citizens.” And you “can’t beat a good parade on the Fourth of July.”

Edward Yap, deputy press secretary for Rep. Nan Hayworth

“As a first generation Chinese-American, I’m reminded every Independence Day of just how grateful I am that my parents uprooted from family and friends 33 years ago to provide a better and brighter future for my brothers and me. We never really make many plans for the Fourth — spending time together as a family is our way of celebrating and giving thanks for the many freedoms and opportunities we proudly enjoy as citizens of this great country.”