Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Am NOT a Curmudgeon!

Honest. I'm not! I know it might seem like I am a crotchety old killjoy when we get around any holiday where people are disposed to setting off fireworks, but honestly, it isn't that I want less joy. I want more!

Admittedly, these are fireworks from the WYD08 opening Mass.
Let's set aside for the moment the fact that these blasted fireworks have already woken unnamed children once. Let's set aside that our pets are a little on the twitchy side. Let's put aside the fact that our communities are home to veterans of war and refugees who likely suffer flashbacks from loud explosions. Yes, let's put all that "selfishness" aside. While it is enough to make me think that money has won over sanity yet another time, I have yet another objection to our lovely new fireworks law, as precious as it is. Community. (Have I already traveled this road? Sorry to be repetitious.)

I have such fond memories of 4th of July fireworks shows put on by my hometown community, although in hindsight maybe the veterans home wasn't the best location (see PTSD reference above). Location aside, it was such a great community celebration, y'all! Bands in which a number of my friends performed in our high school years, rocket pops on a hot summer night, a blanket on the sweet smelling lawn, children running around with sparklers waiting for the big moment when the sky would explode with colors raining in every direction. Together, we waited and we celebrated. 

My parents always made a big deal of patriotic celebrations. As a first generation child of immigrants, I remember how important the history of this country was to them, the history of independence and freedom that they didn't experience in their own homeland much before leaving it. To be able to celebrate that with neighbors and strangers alike was their joy, and it shone on their faces, perhaps more my dad than mom. A kid at heart, he loved every minute, every color, every sparkle of light ... even the popsicles.

He would be disheartened at not only the disruption of a quiet neighborhood on a day like today, but the decline of a community celebration in favor of a renegade, private pandemonium of explosives. By the way, it is currently July 3rd, to be specific, which is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, and while worthy of celebration is perhaps not quite fireworks-worthy.

So you see, it's not that I don't enjoy fireworks. I just say there is a time, manner, and purpose for such a celebration, and perhaps we have missed the mark yet again. It's true that we as a state are no longer missing out on revenue gained by neighboring states while these explosives remained illegal. Then again, perhaps we are missing out on a lot more than we bargained for in the long run by legalizing the private purchase of major fireworks and having our community celebrations no longer on the 4th in so many cases. More fireworks, less community. Welcome to a new 'Merica folks! (sarcasm and snark intended)

Here's hoping your 4th of July is filled with wonder and amazement, and your nights filled with silence!

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