Skip to comments.Americans abroad celebrate July 4th
Posted on 07/04/2003 5:00:59 PM PDT by knighthawk
BERLIN - From occupied Iraq to the capitals of anti-war France and Germany, Americans pushed aside worries about conflicts and terror around the globe to celebrate Independence Day.
Security concerns and lingering anti-American sentiment had threatened to put a damper on the July 4th fireworks in some countries, but parties from Italy to Denmark were as swinging as usual.
American troops in Iraq planned barbecues at U.S. bases, even as a spate of clashes with insurgents killed another U.S. soldier and injured 18 others.
A few were invited to join Arnold Schwarzenegger for a screening at Baghdad International Airport of the actor's latest movie, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."
The tone was lighter in Europe, where the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican hosted his annual July 4th party Thursday night at his villa on the Janiculum Hill, a packed affair attended by hundreds.
A band blasted American tunes as the guests - among them Vatican cardinals - munched hot dogs and hamburgers. Two men on horseback provided a Wild West theme.
In Geneva, the U.S. mission to the United Nations relaxed some of its usually strict security to throw a garden party Friday for more than 1,000 diplomats and dignitaries. Invitees who would normally have to go through X-ray machines and leave their mobile phones at the entrance were granted entry with ease.
The American International Club of Geneva, which has held a separate party every year since 1952, said it expected 35,000 people - one of the biggest in Europe.
"Attendance of Americans and non-Americans tends to go up and down depending on lots of factors," chief organizer Pierre Imfeld told Swiss Radio International. "I'm not sure whether the political situation is going to change anything."
In France, where the government's opposition to the war chilled relations with Washington, citizen groups and tour promoters sought to repair frayed ties and revive slumping U.S. tourism.
More than 100 Paris hotels, restaurants and other establishments were to reach out to American guests Friday, offering free champagne or barbecuing, the Paris tourist office said.
A grass-roots initiative led by World War II veterans, educational and French-American groups began placing nearly 70,000 roses on memorials and tombs Thursday to honor U.S. soldiers who fought in France during two world wars.
In Germany, which closed ranks with Paris against the Iraq invasion, there were no signs of July 4th festivities being toned down.
The U.S. Embassy is Berlin was expecting some 3,000 guests - hundreds more than usual - for food, drinks and fireworks at a reception at the city's Wannsee Lake.
German President Johannes Rau sent a customary telegram of best wishes to President Bush, stressing bilateral ties going back to 18th-century German settlers and expressing hope for "trusting cooperation" to face new challenges.
In Denmark, 3,000 people - Danes and Danish-Americans - gathered for the annual Rebild Festival, which was started 91 years ago by Danish immigrants in the United States who wanted an event to meet relatives and fellow immigrants.
Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller praised the principles of the Declaration of Independence, saying terrorism is a new challenge to them.
"It is our common duty to defend them and provide new guards for their future security," he said. "If we stand together we can make the world a better place to live in. Divided, we may fail and fall."
In Romania, a staunchly pro-American country where people are grateful for the U.S. role in bringing down communism, the celebrations went on as usual. Some 500 guests attended a party Thursday at the American embassy in Bucharest.
The city and the Romanian government organized a music festival on Wednesday, with Romanian bands playing American country songs.
In Albania, some 350 leading officials attended a Fourth of July ceremony on Wednesday held at the residence of the U.S. ambassador and broadcast by all Albanian TV stations.
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