There was no mistaking the arrival of summer this year, with its intense temperatures and humidity. What a welcome prelude to the Fourth of July celebrations coming up next week. Whether those celebrations take place at backyard parties, state parks, nearby beaches or at town-wide events, most feature fireworks prominently. And we’re all for fireworks displays, when properly noticed, regulated and viewed safely.
Problems can arise, however, when fireworks are in the hands of amateurs, or are sent skyward by people who fail to take into account that they have neighbors. National holidays have become times for public celebration and private parties, and none more so than Independence Day. Lighting the barbecue, getting out the sparklers, and watching a fireworks display are all part of the spirit of celebration on July 4, but we urge celebrants to pay attention to their surroundings and to the people who live nearby, particularly the elderly or the very young.
And while it’s been raining off and on, that doesn’t mean caution isn’t necessary to prevent fires. Be careful with the fireworks you send off, and pay attention to where the spent fireworks can be expected to land.
Then there’s the noise. There’s no way to have a fireworks display without waking up every dog in the neighborhood, but sending up private fireworks for hours – or days – on end and late into the night in a congested cul-de-sac is asking everyone else to give up their peace and quiet. We may like to say we live in a rural area, but we’re more truly in suburbia – and that means we have plenty of neighbors.
So here’s a quick reminder from U.S. History – On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, pointing the 13 colonies on the road to becoming a sovereign nation. In addition to detailing the reasons why separation from Great Britain was called for, the Declaration states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Those are good words to be reminded of in the midst of our celebration. Go ahead, celebrate our freedoms by lighting up the sky – but do it with common sense. Use caution with fireworks, and common decency with noise. Have a safe and festive Fourth of July. Our ancestors whose actions led to this holiday would surely want it that way.