The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Okay, so I live in Norway...there really isn't a lot of importance made on OUR Independence Day of July 4th. It is the only day that we can legally fly the American Flag at our house. It does, however, happen to also be Queen Sonja's the Norwegians are allowed to fly their standard national flags on that day as well, in tribute to her birthday. However, I digress....
At the NATO base, there are 26 official countries represented. Each of them gets one of their own country's holidays a year to celebrate. The American contingency selected the 4th of July. That is the only U.S. holiday that Rich gets off each year here. However, if there is something else going on that day, they will shift the holiday to somewhere "near" the 4th. This year, the American population celebrated our Independence Day on July 2nd. The Americans throw a big party on the base, with hotdogs, hamburgers, potato salad, desserts, lemonade, tea and beer. There was an Air Force Jazz band that came from their home station in Europe to play and door prizes were given out. It was a nice gathering. Several hundred people came to celebrate with the Americans.
My mom arrived about 45 minutes prior to the party getting started. She had flown all night from the U.S., but managed to hold herself together long enough to enjoy the party before a well-deserved nap.
The pictures you are looking at are the Air Force guys (and Joe) trying to put together the new basketball backboards in order to have a friendly game of basketball after the barbecue. Joe was hired to work full time at the services section of the U.S. element on the NATO base. He worked there from 0730 to 1600 everyday for four weeks. He painted picnic tables, re-roofed a boat house, stained a pavilion, took apart play ground equipment, and cleaned out storage sheds. He worked really hard and I think had a pretty good time as well. The day of the barbecue was a workday for Joe, so he helped set up and then walked around as Uncle Sam. He also helped break in the basketball goals by playing with some of the older guys.

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