Independence Day, the "American War of Independence"

When we lived in South Africa, we weren’t allowed to fly the American flag in the 4th of July. My brother Pehr once installed it on his third floor porch, but Dad made him take it down. He was always concerned that the South African government would not like it. “We have to keep a low profile,” he would say. We were invited to the American Consulate in Durban one 4th of July. Michael, Siri and I attended the party. The other children seemed very different from us: their clothes, their American accents. We felt out of place. They had a clown show and nice food, but no fireworks.

Fireworks in South Africa at that time were reserved for Guy Fawkes Day: “Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot . . .” It celebrates the foiling of (Catholic) Guy Fawkes's attempt to blow up (Protestant controlled) England's House of Parliament on November 5th, 1605. At Westminster in London, Guy Fawkes, a chief conspirator in the plot to blow up the British Parliament building, jumps to his death moments before his execution for treason. ... After a brief trial, Guy Fawkes was sentenced, along with the other surviving chief conspirators, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in London.

My sister Kirstin learned about “the American War of Independence” in history class in school in South Africa. They didn’t call it the American Revolution.