“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” – Erma Bombeck.
This is one of my favorite quotes about the Fourth of July. The Fourth of July is a holiday that gathers families together to celebrate patriotism…or just eat lots of fabulous food off of the BBQ. Watching fireworks burst into colorful lines dancing through the sky is one of the central activities. I grew up in a military family; patriotism and a love for country is something that has always been a part of my life. I love Fourth of July.
Confession time: I really wanted to love fireworks as an adult but I hated everything about them.
Watching fireworks is so much fun but the prep work to get there wears me out. The sun doesn’t set until bedtime so the kids get cranky as it gets later and later. You have to park miles away and walk in to the viewing area with all of your blankets, coolers, chairs and more. When the fireworks are finished, it takes an hour to get home because of all the traffic and road closures. All of this for twenty minutes of fireworks. For me, it just didn’t seem worth it.
Until we saw the Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza on the Mall in Washington D.C.
We were in Washington D.C. visiting grandparents and they sent my husband and I on our way for an overnight while they kept my son, our only child at the time. What a gift that was! We stayed in a hotel within walking distance of The National Mall and everything it has to offer. It was Fourth of July and we decided to battle the crowds to see the fireworks.
My husband and I arrived before the sun set to get a good spot and we waited patiently (for hours) relishing in the fact that we didn’t have to chase a toddler around.
The sun set, the music started and the fireworks show began. Fireworks of all different colors lit up the sky behind the Washington Monument. The show captivated every single person sitting on that grass that night. All you could hear were oohs and ahs and the popping of the fireworks. If you looked closely, you could see grown men and women wiping tears from their eyes.
It was a beautiful and moving experience. It was a symbol of everything that is important to me. I wish that everyone could experience the fireworks show in our nation’s capital.
From then on, I have tried to make more of an effort when it comes to Fourth of July fireworks. My children, now ages 6 and 8, love to watch the fireworks burst into the sky as they shout out with glee.
This year, though? They are carrying their own chairs.