The Fourth of July is the chance for Americans to relax from work, spend money on something that is going to explode and to sit and watch floats go really slow past them. All in all it’s the American way
My family, specifically my brother, spent last year’s Fourth creating a homemade grand-finale. It was a large collection of fireworks, mostly illegal at the time, on a wooden shelf tied together with a bomb-fuse. It lasted around ten minutes. It cost around $200. This year will be closer to $500. This is the great American tradition.
Fireworks have a way of sparking emotion in people. It is different for everyone. In Disneyland, the end of the night display can create romance, wonder and, for me at least, a childlike feeling. My most lasting firework memory is when the Denver Broncos won their first Super Bowl in 1998. We had extra fireworks after New Year’s and lit them off after the final whistle.
The Fourth fireworks are just different. I have memories of watching the Stadium of Fire fireworks every year from my roof and being amazed at the spectacle. In the last few years, however, that feeling has changed. They are supposed to be the “rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air” but they have really become the epitome of American decadence.
I’ll be the first to admit it I don’t get fireworks. I watch them with friends and family, but it’s more about spending time with them than watching the fireworks. I can see the appeal, but I don’t get why we can’t watch them on the Internet. I could only imagine seeing them before color television and thinking about the amazing colors you couldn’t see anywhere else. Now we have HDTV. We could easily watch it on our televisions.
Whenever they go off in a park or in your street there are “oohs” and “ahs” and “whoa, I liked that color” but really they are just colors. People cheer for the loud noises in the explosions. I know that it is interesting, a novelty that only comes a few times a year, but it just seems like a waste.
Ultimately I feel it’s like the guy who brings a guitar to a fire up the canyon. Quick tangent, why does he think I want to hear him sing a dumb song when I know I wouldn’t listen if I could get away? The fire can be beautiful, he may have a great voice and the guitar is great but I don’t want all of them together.
The same goes with fireworks. I think they can be beautiful, but are they necessary? Some people like the guy at the fire. I don’t. I like to relax at the fire, and maybe that is why I don’t care about the fireworks. I want my day off to be a day off. I don’t want to have to leave my room for an assortment of colors.
Of course, the other part is also bad. Parades are the opposite of the lazy spectrum. While fireworks are over quick, parades last for hours. All you do is sit and watch people walk or drive a piñata past you. It’s like a half-hour of channel surfing when you know that nothing is on.
I hope this isn’t too unpatriotic. I love the Fourth, I’m all about the barbecue. I just don’t think we need to burn money to cheer. We don’t need to, as the beach town store clerk from The Simpsons said, “Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it!”