No Fireworks for Independence Day

Does taking fireworks out of the equation make celebrating Independence Day any less meaningful?

Fireworks are illegal in our area because of fire danger. Our community celebration at the Starlight Bowl won’t have fireworks either.

It is strangely empty without fireworks. I remember, as a kid, lighting fireworks in the street with my dad, bucket of water at the ready, for what seemed like hours. We lit sparklers as soon as there was a hint of sunset. We lit snakes and tattooed our sidewalk. Then we listened to Piccolo Pete sing his ear-piercing song.

These are memories that really stick in my head. And our kids won’t have these memories. For that, I’m a little sad.

Instead, they will have memories of going to a friend’s house, or a family member’s house, having a BBQ, playing outside until it’s dark, then playing Rock Band until way past their bedtime.

In either case, it’s still the 4th of July. Can we have a similar appreciation for our independence, and our history, without fireworks? Or does it take away from the celebration, making our recognition of the beginnings of our country less poignant?

Independence Day is a holiday that leaves me somewhat confused, while also feeling lucky. Celebrating the history of America gives me mixed feelings. I’m glad that I live in this country, and celebrate the freedom we have today in my own way, everyday. Yet, I like England too, and the rest of the UK. I like Europe. They all started off as monarchies, and they evolved.

Our independence from England back in 1776 was a big step—a declaration that we can stand on our own two feet. But we have made a lot of mistakes. We aren’t perfect. And I wonder sometimes, whether a teenager fighting against his parents to go it alone when they don’t think he’s yet ready, is worth celebrating. Or, is it simply the only way it could have been?

The celebration of Independence Day is bigger than the US. It’s a time to celebrate everyone in the world who is free—free to travel, free to talk to whomever they want to, free to study what they want, free to eat the food they want to, free to wear the clothes they want to. And sadly, even in our own country, there are many who are not free to do these things, sometimes due to our own government’s actions.

So today, as I celebrate Independence Day, I think about fireworks with my dad, I think about BBQs and spending time with the people we love, and I think about how complicated our world is, and that we are lucky to have happened to landed where we are, and living the wonderful life that we do.

Happy 4th of July everyone. Namaste.


One Response to “No Fireworks for Independence Day”

  1. Robin Says:

    Something just hit me, Tammy when I read this post. I cannot say I am proud of my country. I feel badly about this. I have read enough about even the history of our independence to be a little disenchanted with The Fourth of July. Maybe I have more to learn. I know I don’t fully appreciate the freedoms we have, but I am not sure the road to our freedoms was a pure as I was taught. What I realized is that I can get all into Independence Day and the idea of it and what that can mean for me and for my country. I can celebrate the independence I take for granted no matter how confused I may be about “The Fourth of July” and the truths behind that, which are conflicting to me as are the truths behind the Civil War… another hot topic can of worms there.

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