On July 4, 2008, exactly 232 years later, half way around the world, a group of 10 Americans chose the island of Lotumu in Vava’u, Tonga to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers.
Arriving on the island of Lotumu, once the home of the Tonga Military, we scouted the island for soldiers. Finding only abandoned barracks and a watch tower, we proclaimed the island “The 51st State” and proudly raised the American flag while listening to the sounds of “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America”.
Protected by two dogs and a fishing spear we moved in, setting up camp and building a fire to let everyone know that America was here.
We proudly cooked hamburgers and freedom fries over an open fire while drinking American Beer. We topped off our dinner with Potato Salad, Pasta Salad and Chips. As the sun set over the blue Pacific Ocean, we listened to the sounds of the bars in nearby Neiafu where the patrons had no idea that one of their Vava’u islands, had just been conquered.
The next morning, we secured the dock where Tongan navy ships had once docked and snorkeled around the bottom observing the many tropical fish who now protect the coral below.
As the afternoon sun started to dip into the horizon, we basked in the realization that we were the first foreign power to ever rule an island in the Kingdom of Tonga. But then, we decided that it was time to give the island back to the Tongans. We sadly lowered the flag, picked up our litter and left, leaving no signs of our 24 hour invasion. However, we left with the memory of a great July 4th spent with fellow Americans.