Exedra Asks | What does the Fourth of July mean to you?

(Photo by Julie Reichle)

Ava Adarkar and Ginger Gardner, 11th graders at Piedmont High School

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July this year? We are working at the Pancake Breakfast and seeing friends tonight. It will be nice to embrace the patriotic spirit after being inside for so long, and be with friends in person after such a chaotic year.

What makes this year’s celebrations unique? Ava: Everything is coming together after so much isolation. This is the first community-oriented event that the Piedmont Community Service Crew has held after so long. We’re not at Veteran’s Hall like usual, but I’m still glad to have this block party.

Ginger: It’s so nice to have everyone sitting together at the same tables here and to see all the kids playing together after being separated for so long.

What does the Fourth of July mean to you? We love the focus on the smaller community and getting to connect with neighbors. It’s a solid event that we can look forward to every year.


(Photo by Julie Reichle)

Parents T.J. and Gina Won with their kids Stella and Dylan

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July this year? We are eating at the Pancake Breakfast this morning and we’re going to watch the parade go by on our front lawn. 

What makes this year’s celebrations unique? We’re relatively new to Piedmont, so this is only our second Fourth of July here. Everything was closed last year, so it’s nice to be more involved with the local community now.

What does the Fourth of July mean to you? T.J.: It means a whole lot. My parents were born and raised in South Korea in Seoul. My dad was in the military. It means a lot to be proud of the country, especially with what’s been going on — this feels like a celebration to be coming out of the pandemic. 


(Photo by Julie Reichle)

Nancy Bishop and Betsy Klene

Nancy is a longtime Piedmont resident and Betsy is visiting her daughter and son-in-law in Piedmont. They have been best friends ever since they met as high school freshmen in Los Angeles and were the maids of honor in each others’ weddings.

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July this year? We are at the Pancake Breakfast this morning and going to a block party later today.

What makes this year’s celebrations unique? We’re disappointed that there’s no big parade on Highland — we miss the big show. But we are definitely happy there’s an interim parade.

What does the Fourth of July mean to you? It means independence. It’s nice to celebrate the United States. We live in a great country.


Etienne Fang with her kids Julian (left; 4th grade) and Lucian Fang-Ring (right; 7th grade) and their dog, Java. (Photo by Julie Reichle)

Etienne Fang, Julian Fang-Ring, and Lucien Fang-Ring

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July this year? We are catching the parade right now and we are going to a friend’s house for a barbecue later. We are going to have a progressive dinner and go to our house next to watch the fireworks. We just moved to a new house, and it’s my husband’s birthday tomorrow — lots to celebrate.

What makes this year’s celebrations unique? We’ve come to the parade for the last 12 years. I grew up in Piedmont and used to walk in the parade in high school for the swim team. My husband is from New England and he says the parade reminds him of home — a nice neighborhood town event.

What does the Fourth of July mean to you? Lucian and Julian: It means America’s birthday and good barbecues. Etienne: It’s a great time to celebrate the community. 


Parents Andy and Catherine Minor with their kids Laurel (8th grade), Cory (6th grade), and Jocelyn (1st grade) and their dog, Gus (Photo by Julie Reichle)

The Minor family

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July this year? This morning we went on a hike in Briones. Right now we’re hoping to catch the parade and then go to our neighborhood barbecue at the block party.

What makes this year’s celebrations unique? The block party is supposed to be larger than ever, and there are a lot of new families in the neighborhood. After more than a year inside people are ready to come out and celebrate.

What does the Fourth of July mean to you? It means independence from kings, and that we get to pick our own presidents for better or for worse. We celebrate our country for the good things it does. A favorite tradition of our kids has always been chasing after the candy that is thrown in the parade.


(Photo by Julie Reichle)

Mayor Teddy Gray King

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July this year? We are trying to do our best in this (almost) post-pandemic Fourth of July. I celebrated this year by putting my flag out, having a Third of July barbecue in anticipation, borrowing this Uncle Sam jacket, and riding in the parade. I’m feeling optimistic. Certainly more optimistic than a year ago.

What makes this year’s celebrations unique? Last year was hard. Our kids couldn’t see their friends and we didn’t have a block party. The Trump era was horrible — I didn’t know if we were going to get ourselves out of the pandemic. I had that daily worry about our democracy. I am so happy that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are our president and vice president, and I am so grateful for our vaccines. I am grateful that Piedmonters are getting vaccinated so that we can all feel safer.

What does the Fourth of July mean to you? Freedom. It means freedom, and our job is to make sure that the freedoms that many of us enjoy are available for all Americans. We are grateful for the freedoms and liberties we have, but they are not distributed equally. We still have work to do. 

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