Growing up in New Jersey meant we only saw, experienced and enjoyed fire works once, or twice, maybe (if we were really lucky) 3 times a year. Summer holidays had the corner on the night-time, holiday light show.
As the child of a firefighter… sparklers were a compromise that he’d give into on those special occasions…Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
After traveling and visiting places like Disney, we’d see them multiple times in one week…how amazing that was!! The exhibit added to the awe and admiration we had for that little fantasy world in the center of Florida’s famous swampland.
We were NEVER allowed to set off fire works and certainly not their less awesome, but still inspiring fire crackers. Even when the cousins from Pennsylvania brought fire crackers and various bootleg explosives cross state line, we still couldn’t use them.
We were educated about the perils and the dangers of handling explosives. They aren’t “just” for show. They mean something serious…about what we’ve accomplished here in a few short centuries.
As an adult…the neighborhood displays each summer, patriotic holiday are intriguing to me…why would someone buy these for their kids and why, oh why, would they let them set off fire works in their backyard?
Just a few short years ago, we were given back stage passes (so to speak) and let into the staging area at the Labor Day fire works display being hosted by my dad’s fire company. It was an anniversary and this year they’d spent quite an awfull lot 5 digit$ worth of explosives, from the large umbrella shaped ones to the swirling, hissing, sizzle favorites that I’ve loved since I was only 5…
When the ashes started falling and the sulfur smelling smoke clouds started turning towards our seats on the edge of the fire truck…my sisters and I looked at each other…what was dad thinking? Why were we here? Right…he’s a grandfather now and all those years we asked for this he wouldn’t let us.
So why were we allowing our kids to be there? They were just a little frightened and the demand they once had has faded. I can only think that someday, they will see the summer holiday through their children’s eyes and feel the awe and amazement that I had grown up with, in New Jersey…safely a quarter mile (maybe more) away from the source of the explosives.
It is Independence Day everyone… enjoy the fire works. I have to be honest though, I’d rather you see and hear the show, not at home, not in your backyard, but certainly somewhere out there, where you don’t have to see the behind the scenes, smoke filled side – what I still think of as awe insipiring – for everything they mean…and barely a glimpse of what I’ve seen up close. The rocket’s red glare – carving out a new country – not so very far from where we are right now in the burbs of Philadelphia. Yes… I think I get it and I’m so proud to be an American.
~ Dawn aka Hat Girl