This is photo of the 4th of July celebration in Washington, DC. This weekend here in Benin, I have had two special events as the United States celebrates 233 years of independence. On Friday night, some of the leadership of the ship were invited to a Reception at the Residence of the United States Ambassador. There were many officials from other nations and many from the nation of Benin. They showed a short video from Secretary of State Clinton and speeches were shared (including a message from President Obama) and responses were made – though the speeches were in French and so I struggled to understand what was being said. Then on Saturday afternoon, the Embassy hosted a BBQ for all Americans in Benin and so out of the 120 Americans on the ship right now – about 90 of us attended the BBQ – chicken, potato salads, corn on the cob and so many great desserts. It was casual and enjoyable, but no fireworks in the evening and no cameras were permitted and that is why I selected this photo.