I arrived in country three days before the celebration of the 20th independence day for North Macedonia in 2011. They had pulled out all the stops- military parade in the morning, activities all day long, followed by a star studded concert at night. My roommate, my language professor, and I went down to the square to see the festivities. It was exciting to be in such a celebratory mood- to see people so happy to be celebrating their independence. Most of those on the square had been born before the split up of Yugoslavia, so they had memories. There were singers and traditional dances. There were fireworks and speeches. The crowd just felt alive. The party lasted well into the wee morning hours. People were excited to come together and celebrate independence day, regardless of ethnicity.
Cassidy Henry – Fulbright to Macedonia 2011