Friday, July 2, 2010

Patriotism and Fireworks

In anticipation of Independence Day weekend, I'd like to share some thoughts about July 4th. I consider myself to be a red-blooded American. I love my country despite its problems, and I respect the flag and those who have fought for our country; however, sometimes I get weird reactions from people when they find out I'm not into fireworks. Others look at me like I'm a communist when they hear I have no desire to go to the Stadium of Fire. Call me crazy, but I'm not forking out $35-100 per person for the event. I probably wouldn't even attend if it were free. They'd have to throw in a massage and a meal to get me there. I admit I am a 4th of July party-pooper.

I usually run the 5K Race in the morning and sometimes go to the parade after. The fly-over is pretty cool. I enjoy seeing the soldiers, veterans, and the high school marching bands that are cool enough to have bagpipes, but after that, the parade is pretty much just a giant commercial. Watching floats with advertising for all kinds of businesses, along with giant inflatable cartoon character balloons just doesn't do anything for me. If you are lucky, you might get a piece of candy thrown at you. Even my little kids get tired of sitting in the sun watching the parade. Big crowds with lots of strangers doesn't help the situation either. I can't believe some people camp out over night for it.

I don't mind fireworks, but I'm not going to waste my money on something that will be burned up and destroyed a day later unless it is something I can eat. I know some people who spend hundreds of dollars on their personal firework shows. Some of these people single handedly boost the Wyoming economy with their annual purchases. They are a big hit with the kids in my neighborhood. I usually just send my kids down the street to watch their fireworks, so I'm grateful for all the money they save me.

I assume we celebrate with fireworks as a reference to "the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air", but I think most people are just looking for an excuse to blow stuff up. I'm afraid I outgrew fireworks years ago, around the same time I got tired of video games. I think the final nail in the coffin was when we went to watch a big fireworks show a couple years ago. We arrived very early to get good seats, then had to wait forever until it was finally dark enough. We then saw about 20 minutes of fireworks and smoke before we got to experience the highlight of the night, which was sitting in a traffic jam for an hour and a half with thousands of other hot, and exhausted people. Yippee!

Since we live in a free country, I will respect the way people choose to celebrate their freedom, which for most people appears to be blowing stuff up. If we want to make fireworks more applicable to freedom, I suggest we not let adults use them unless they are a registered voter. Please don't take offense if you are a pyro. I hope you have a great time this weekend, and I just want you to know that I love my country and appreciate my freedom, even if I don't light anything but the barbecue grill over the weekend.


Kristina P. said...

YOu are a great America, Chaka.

Eric said...

I think the second amendment gives the people the right to have well regulated fireworks shows. Happy 4th

Ocean Girl said...

Happy 4th July weekend Mr Chaka. Don't get your fur burnt over the barbecue :)

Cheeseboy said...

God Bless You Chaka! And God Bless America!

The Stadium of Fire is pure evil. anything that involves Glen Beck as a host and proclaims itself to be politically neutral is a total joke. You couldn't pay me to go to that total bull. (Not to mention that it is in Utah County, which I avoid at all costs.)

As for me, I don't mind fireworks, but I hate or local parade that goes on and on and on for about 2 hours too long.

Chaka said...

I went to the parade this morning with the kids and it was better than usual. Getting some shade makes all the difference.

Kelly said...

We skipped out on fireworks for the second year in a row now and I felt kinda bad for my kids. However the traffic jam afterwards is always a pain and I didn't miss that at all.

My favorite 4ths have been when we are lucky enough to be close to some spendy guy with his own personal display of waste. Unfortunately for me that doesn't happen in MD. Fireworks are illegal for miles around here.

PS who knew you liked Kendra W in elementary school? I will be sure and mention it to her at the next reunion : )

Chaka said...

Kelly- I didn't realize there were duplicate initials going on there. That is funny.

Becky said...

Chaka, I think you forgot to mention that, during said fireworks outing,the sprinklers turned on on the piece of lawn we had just claimed and set everything up, and the baby got car sick and threw up from all the starting and stopping in the traffic afterward. Nothing like being stuck in a hot, sweaty, barf car while slowly making it through traffic.

That being said, I would like to start some really cool 4th of July traditions that actually celebrate the reason for the season (kinda like we do with Christmas), since I think that, next to Christmas and Easter, it is probably the most important holiday. (Wait, I forgot about Valentine's Day.) Maybe your followers have some great ideas. (Like the really cool Colonial Festival I took the kids to this year - very cool!)