July 4th is right around the corner. I have watched firework sales tents pop up here and there. I will say, this year there are not as many and I’ve heard whispers that it is hard to get fireworks this year. I, for one, am glad. I know, I know I’m no fun. I’m sorry. I’m just not a fan of mortars being shot by amateurs in crowded neighborhoods. Call me crazy, but that always seemed to be a poor choice.
I know that Independence Day is important. After all, it is a federal holiday that commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the US. I know fireworks are a big part of that but does anyone know WHY they set off fireworks on July 4th? Turns out in 1777 Americans in Philadelphia fired a cannon 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/06/29/why-do-we-celebrate-july-4-as-independence-day/7799065002/ Thirteen fireworks were also fired in the city as part of the celebrations. I think that is sensible and very symbolic. I could be on board with that. But then, revelers (otherwise known as drunk rouwdy party goers who yell Whoooo!) started setting off fireworks in the streets and around their homes. There you have it. We are following traditions of drunk people. LOL
I personally do not mind looking at fireworks professionally done from a distance. I don’t love it, but I can tolerate it. What I cringe at are all the illegal, high powered mortars that go off in neighborhoods. I grew up in a country that had been bombed a lot. I saw first had what explosives did to people. My uncle limped because he lost a part of his foot in the Korean War. There were people all over my village who were missing limbs or who bore scars from burns from bombs. A part of my elementary school routine was to have a air raid drill. A shrill siren would come on and we had to get under anything we can and cover our ears and nose with our fingers and close our eyes and hold our breath for a long as we could. To this day when I hear a similar siren in a movie I nearly pee myself. The sounds of fireworks booming make me very uncomfortable.
My husband’s family celebrated with lots of mortars on July 4th and I begrudgingly dealt with it. I would sometimes go to the bathroom or feign a headache when they began just so I could get away from it as far as I could. Once our children came into the picture, I put my foot down and said that I felt it was dangerous for them to stand outside next to a huge bonfire that was started with gasoline while people shot off mortars while drinking alcoholic beverages. After a few “accidents” that happened to the adults, he finally agreed and we stopped going to the family gathering. Did you know that in the US there are over 10,000 fireworks related injuries in the ER EVERY year? Crazy, right? My husband has a scar from a firework accident but I am sure he will not want me to tell you the location because he does not want to be the BUTT of jokes. Cough, cough, wink wink. . .LOL
In our home, we get the legal sparkly, silly fireworks and set them off in our driveway. We are nerds, we know. We make sure we have a water hose nearby and we clean up after ourselves. The kids draw their names with sparklers in the air and we go back inside where they can safely look at other people’s fireworks if they desire. When they were younger we used to take them to professional shows but nobody wants to do that anymore. It’s too hot and buggy.
Last year, I was especially worried as tensions rose and people were so angry. I was hoping this year would be better but there seems to be even more anger from many sectors of the community so we will stay home. Plus, we want to avoid the heat and COVID. We will do a family barbecue and watch Independence Day on tv and play some video games. Like last year, I will put on noise cancellation headphones and listen to ocean sounds until the revelers tire out and finally go to bed.
I am very proud to be an American. I am honored that so many of my family members served in the US military (AND Korean military). I understand people want to celebrate. But plenty of us dread the unnecessary fireworks: veterans with PTSD, pets, young children, and people who are from bombed countries like me. If you HAVE to shoot off fireworks please be careful.