Did you know that John Adams predicted that July 2nd, the day the Congress approved a resolution of separation from Great Britain, would be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more? Or that many historians question whether our Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th, some concluding it was signed as much as a month later?   For some reason, our local Independence Day Festival and fireworks display are being held tonight on the third, so we will be going to a party at a friend’s house for barbeque and fireworks … their yard overlooks the park where the show is held.   Last year, we were planning to attend but my wife developed a pulmonary embolism and spent Independence Day weekend in the hospital, so I attended alone after visiting hours were over.  It’s important to me that we attend together this year to close the book on that scary memory.    I’m funny like that.

One of my fondest childhood memories was attending the 4th of July Fireworks at Lighthouse Point in New Haven, CT with my parents.   Dad hated traffic and he hated crowds but every year, we piled into our car, sometimes getting to bring a friend along, to see the show.  I never asked why he put up with it all … and never will get to now … but I’d guess it was because he was a patriotic man.   Whatever the reason, I’m glad he did.  Like most children, I loved fireworks, especially the crescendo of explosions of increasing power that ended the show, leaving our ears happily ringing in bed that night.   We’d get there early enough to find a good place to spread our blanket on the grass and maybe get to wander on the beach, looking for shells, or ride the ancient merry-go-round before dark.   As a small child, I’d stay with my parents, but as I got older … junior high, I think … my friends and I would wander around, looking for other friends then sit away from my parents’ blanket.   It says something about the times that our parents allowed us to roam like that.

One year, three of my friends and I were seated far from my folk’s blanket as the traditional fireworks flag was ignited to begin the show.   Everyone around us stood and sang along with the Star-Spangled Banner, which was playing over the park’s PA system.    As an under-four-foot runt at that age, I couldn’t see anything, so … knowing I was out of ear shot of my Dad … I loudly whined, C’mon, you dumb flag.  Go out so everyone will sit down.   From the blanket behind me came the voice of of our next door neighbor, Muffy.    Buddy ___, you show some respect for your country.  Good men have died for that flag.   Yikes.   Was I ever embarrassed.    But she was right and, as you can tell, I remember her lesson still.   We  … and our politicians and our media, in particular … would be well-served to listen to Muffy … before we lay claim to the word patriotic … or accuse someone else of being unpatriotic … Show some respect for your country and the principles on which it was founded, so beautifully stated in the Declaration of Independence, no matter when it was signed.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.   Happy Independence Day, Dad, and thanks for the memories.

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One Comment on “Fireworks”

  1. territerri Says:

    Happy Independence day. I’m so glad you were able to celebrate with your wife by your side this year.

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