Posts Tagged: fireworks

Jul 19

Are Home Fireworks a Real Exercise of Patriotism?

I enjoy a community celebration of July 4 with professional fireworks carried out with oversight, and for a relatively short period, at a fairground. But this annual celebration in our neighborhood of the sonic brutality of a war zone, carried out willy-nilly by the astoundingly selfish, is not an exercise of patriotism. It may not be legal in your town; in our town they have BIG fireworks that they blow up on the street, or in their yards, that they fire into the sky over our rooftops, making BIG noises, and so many people do it, so very loudly, it really does sound like artillery in a war zone. And goes on for hours.

A real exercise of patriotism would be actual military service; would be running for office; would be volunteering to make the country a better place by doing a good deed for a veteran, or volunteering to help homeless veterans, or registering people to vote. It would be helping out at a foodbank, or tutoring children who need help, or having a reading in the great works of American history. Why not do those things on July 4? Maybe a reading from the Constitution or the writings of  Jefferson or Lincoln… Creating ugly flashbacks for vets with PTSD is not patriotic, however. Terrifying small children and pets and people prone to anxiety for hours on end, is not patriotic. Robbing the elderly of sleep is not patriotic. Getting drunk, eating carbonized meat, and–by example– teaching small children that explosives are not dangerous, is not patriotic. It’s not unpatriotic. It’s just irrelevant. . . Associating home fireworks with certain political points of view is not only not patriotism–it’s childish and uninformed. . .

I’m a patriotic American. If the country is invaded by an enemy army–or thrown into chaos by a seditious militia–I will volunteer to fight off these threats to America. But I choose not to torment my neighbors, those stricken with PTSD, innocent pets, the weary elderly, or infants, with the annual, absurdly mindless use of explosives.

Jul 16

A Father and Son who made me forget the Drunken Darwin Award Nominees

We’re now living in Washington state where–for the moment–fireworks are still sold openly and legally: big banging ones that fly up into the sky and spray metallic multicolored sparkles. I like professional fireworks shows but the amateur neighborhood sort gets on my nerves. Fire risk and the noise–and our pets hate them. The cats run and hide under the bed, at the ceiling-shaking bangs from the neighbors; the dogs huddle against us, shaking. So I was glad when they finally dwindled to a few lonesome bangs a little after midnight.

This morning, walking the dogs, saw a dad in his backyard with his young son, perhaps five at most. The boy wore ear protectors against the noise of firecrackers, and goggles. Dad was sending up some form of bottle rocket that warbled as it ascended–then it gave out a great concussive bang in a little cloud of smoke. The father made his son step back before the rocket was lit, and seemed quite careful about protecting the lad. The boy looked radiantly happy. Never was a boy more pleased to be taking part in something with his old man. I was touched by the whole thing, and the scene makes it possible for me to forget the drunks and Darwin Award nominees for awhile…