Fourth of July in Hawaii and Beyond

Being thousands of miles from the continental U.S., people in Hawaii can often feel far removed from the patriotic spirit of the Fourth of July. For many of us, it’s another opportunity to have a day off from work, barbecue, or go to the beach.

Like many people, my favorite Fourth of July activity is watching fireworks with friends or family. My fondest memories of this holiday are watching a concert with military bands and an orchestra on the steps of the U.S. Capitol or lawn of the White House during my trips to Washington, D.C. Those events were always capped with a dazzling fireworks show over the majestic National Mall.

One year, I attended an outdoor concert at Chicago’s Grant Park. While the Chicago Symphony Orchestra played patriotic music during the spectacular fireworks display, I glanced at a woman next to me sitting on a fold-up beach chair with her family. In one hand, she held an American flag over her chest. In her other hand, she held the hand of a little boy – perhaps her grandson. Her eyes were shut. I can only wonder what she was thinking – maybe about friends or relatives who once served in the military. Her thoughts must have been heartfelt. And I’ll probably have that same heartfelt image of her while I watch this year’s fireworks show on Oahu.

I asked Well-Being Hawaii writers what they’ll be doing during the Fourth of July weekend. Their answers are as diverse as our nation:

Fernando Pacheco: My friends and family are getting together for our first “bunless barbecue.” We’ll grill lots of veggies and the featured entrée will be chicken lettuce wraps. I’m still deciding on a healthy refreshing beverage for us to enjoy. Any ideas?

Jamie Nakasone: My 10-year-old nephew asked me to take him to Jurassic World. So I’m doing that on Friday and spending my day with him. If you’re trying to decide whether to go to the beach or the movies on Friday, opt for the beach. I hear it’s going to be a nice, sunny day. I’ll spend the rest of the weekend with my husband or puttering with my plants. I may make pot tofu for the first time. And if anyone pops fireworks around our neighborhood on Saturday night, I’ll be watching my cat to make sure she doesn’t freak out.

Neal Iwamoto: My family and I will probably hang out at the beach during the day and then head to our cousin’s place for a big family potluck. The big disappointment is there are no fireworks in Hawaii Kai again this year. We usually watch it from our cousin’s place in Mariners Ridge or by hiking up Koko Head on the Hanauma Bay side. Bummer. 

Marlene Nakamoto: I’ll probably worry about one of my dogs, Shadow, who’s terrified of fireworks noise. We have tranquilizers for her, but we have to give it to her about two hours before the noise starts. Trying to decide when to give her the meds is always kind of stressful.

Lynn Shizumura: I’ll probably start with a morning run and then dig into a good book and/or magazine. I have many memoirs to read and so little time! If I’m feeling ambitious, I may try a new recipe. I’ve been trying stew and salad recipes from Deliciously Ella. My husband and I will probably have a family dinner on the 4th, too.

Ashley Tsuji: I’m going to finish reading Ready Player One on my Kindle. I’m a little over halfway through and love the premise of living in a virtual world based on pop-culture from the 1980s. Born in the 1970s, I can easily relate to Atari, Night Rider, WarGames, Dire Straits, Zork, Family Ties, and other nostalgic icons that make up this universe. Want to know more about this book or other books I’m reading? Follow me on GoodReads.

Lynelle Fox: I’ll take this wonderfully long weekend to do something I've been meaning to do for a while: finish my spring cleaning! I attempted to be proactive and began in January (yay!). But now it’s July and I’m still not finished (boo!). I'd like to finish before they start selling turkeys for the fall holiday. And I’ll also find somewhere to watch the fireworks with my son.

What are you doing this Fourth of July weekend? Share it with us. Post your answer in the comment box below.