What Is It About Fireworks and Our Flag?

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I am a 64 year old woman. I consider myself still a child at heart. So why is it that before I go to a fireworks display for a holiday I pause and do the “old woman routine:” check the weather and think of all the things I need to bring for a 20 minute display of potentially dangerous, noisy, exploding colored lightning in the night sky? Why do I think, “Oh, well. I’ve seen lots of fireworks before, I can live without seeing this one. I just don’t feel like going out in the heat and mosquitoes.”

But then my best friend invites me to go and I immediately say,”Yes!”

When the fireworks begin, I am transfixed with awe at the wonder, beauty, massive, man-made colored, lightning like vision!! I stand there grinning from ear to ear; smiling with my eyes wide open, afraid I’ll miss something; and then I try to capture the beauty and majesty of it all with my camera. Although I have done this many times before, I am never quite satisfied with the pictures. How can one capture with a camera the beautiful blooms of colored light, the booming sound of the cannons firing them into the air, or especially the excitement generated by real fireworks exploding over one’s head?

Why is this spectacle so bewitching year after year? Could it be my inner child wants to enjoy the glory of something only seen a few times a year? Could it be I want to be enchanted by the beauty of each explosive crackling, glowing sight? Maybe it brings back memories of fireworks seen with my family as a kid? Maybe it is the stirring music,”The Star Spangled Banner” that still gives me goosebumps!

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As the park speakers play several songs, I find myself thinking about Francis Scott Key. Key wrote the poem during the  that later became the verses of The Star Spangled Banner as he stood on a ship, looking at the embattled Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 with the American flag still waving proudly, though tattered and scorched, cannons still shooting their payload of ruin at the flag and fort. What an amazing sight that must have been! I bet he had goosebumps too as he wrote his famous verses.

“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

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So I guess my inner child along with everyone elses’ inner child reveled happily at the beauty, glory and phantasmagorical vision these displays present. Each of us feeling that pride once more that we live in the United States of America. And next holiday with fireworks, I may repeat the same old lady behavior and then the inner child will win out just one more time, every year from now until I can’t go any more.

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12 thoughts on “What Is It About Fireworks and Our Flag?

  1. I will actually collect all the kids in the neighborhood to go watch the fireworks with me..there is just something about holding a small child on your lap as everyone is watching and oohing and ahhhing….it is just so darned joyful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Old woman behaviour and inner child go together like cake and ice cream. The older we get, the more this happens; hence the frequent special understandings between grandparents and grandkids! 😉 Nothing to worry about, just enjoy! And fireworks are irresistible anyway. You just have to have kids around to go “ooh” and “aaah” with! Happy 4th of July!! (Our fireworks are today, Canada Day).

    Liked by 1 person

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