A GI Bride’s first Independence Day, 1946

Many GI brides adjusting to life in America in the Summer of 1946 found themselves celebrating Independence Day on July 4th for the first time, along with their husband’s family.  For some, the sound of the Fourth of July fireworks inevitably brought back memories of the bombing they experienced during the Blitz.


GI Bride Rae Brewer attended her first Fourth of July fireworks display with her husband Raymond in South Park, near their home in Hackett, Pennsylvania. The noise of the rockets exploding triggered the PTSD she had suffered since being bombed out of her home in North London, and she instinctively dropped to the floor, her hands on the back of her head.  To this day, she avoids fireworks displays, and still ducks whenever she hears a loud noise.

However, Rae never lets her PTSD get in the way of her patriotism. She became an American citizen in 1950, and now flies both the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes in her garden. At the World War II War Brides Association’s annual get-togethers, she always leads the singalong, belting out many war time songs, as well as the national anthems of both her homeland and her adoptive country.

See Rae singing the Star Spangled Banner here: