Last week Britt and I went to a wedding. It was a quintessentially American wedding in that it joined two people, with two different cultures and heritages together. At this wedding a first generation Chinese/Vietnamese American bride was marrying an Irishman that had only just arrived here a few years ago. Speaking with a strong Irish accent, he greeted us wearing a traditional silk Vietnamese suit to match his bride’s outfit.
At this Chinese/Vietnamese/Irish/American wedding, I sat at a table next to my New Zealand born husband and chatted with an Irish born couple living in Daly City, and sat across from a first generation Palestinian American and her husband that had migrated from Lebanon as a five year old boy.
During this very American wedding, taking place in a gigantic Chinese restaurant, two lit up dancing dragons burst onto the dance floor to celebrate the couple. After Britt and I got our picture taken with the dragons, we tucked into a ten course meal served by Chinese waiters that spoke very little English but were still good communicators and did not judge me for not trying the sea cucumber dish.
At the end of the night, we left the Chinese/Vietnamese/Irish/American wedding and drove home to our Latin American neighborhood that used to be an Irish neighborhood. We let ourselves into our apartment that sits around the corner from a Salvadorian pupusaria, a famous Mexican restaurant and a lesbian owned vegan American pie place.
It’s the Fourth of July and I want to think of this wonderful wedding night and remember that this is what makes America beautiful and special. I also want to remember that over two hundred years ago, regular people over threw a monarch and declared themselves to be free and united together.
Let’s never forget that on July 2nd, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring that all people are created equal and that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Happy Independence Day!