Independence Day, July 4th. The birth of our nation, as the Declaration of Independence was written, signed onto by American Colonial Delegates, and submitted to the British. It would mark the beginning of a long struggle to separate ourselves as free men and women, out from under the heavy handed rule of the Crown located across an entire ocean.
Today, the 4th of July means many things. An extra day off for workers (day off number 2387 for the year for federal workers and bankers) Sales with major discounts from every type of retailer imaginable. A day of solemn reflection on the actions of a few men, willing to sacrifice their lives by penning what might be considered treasonous literature, followed by the actual sacrificing of men's lives in the name of these foreign ideas of freedom. To kids, it often means parades, candy, and local celebrations with rides and attractions.
To me, it is the last two ideas. Mostly because I find myself working most holidays, and have no need to go buy "a top quality mattress at crazy low prices from some idiot on the tv box who calls himself completely insane for trying such a never before heard of sale." (Like 50% off never happened before) I already have a mattress, and probably only because I have a wife...I always found comfort in an old beat up couch anyways.
But most importantly for me, on a low-level personal need, it has been 5 years since I have been able to participate in any 4th of July celebrations. Mainly...fireworks. I had been helping put on a private fireworks display for a few years, then I started my current job. But this year, as mentioned in a previous posting, I have proactively opted to take more time for family and life outside of work. So this year, I again get to help in blowing things up.
Now this may not seem like much, but to those who know me, they already know I am a pyromaniac. (my credentials include setting my parents living room on fire in one house, their yard on fire in another, multiple "campfires" in the old ravine, lighting my shoes, armhairs, eyebrows, and God only knows what else into a nice flaming extravaganza)
You would also know that I enjoy explosions, and being the reason for them. As with all shows I have put on, people have enjoyed the displays, as much as I have enjoyed putting them on. Although, in a tribute to the troops, and a line from our national anthem-- "And the bombs bursting in air"-- as the show goes on, things can get a little scary. Artillery rounds with multiple breaks being put in hot tubes, tend to cook off the fuse line a bit sooner than anticipated. I have been seen running from this mishap I helped to create in order to keep all my body parts intact, sometimes dodging multiple rounds as they disperse in all directions. The adrenaline kicks in, the heart pumps really fast. I find myself excited and scared to death all at the same time. Roman candles fall from their post and begin shooting errantly, multiple launch "mini-missiles" rock from their stand with the force created from the explosion initiating their launch. Pretty soon, it's like I imagine a firefight in combat to be. Projectiles small and large whizzing through the air in all directions, exploding at unpredictable points and intervals. Naturally, my mom begins to fear not only for her safety, but mine as well. But she won't dare come out, for fear of being hit with a little fireworks action herself. It is the greatest thrill in the world for me and my underused adrenal glands, knowing full well that I could burn and/or decapitate myself.
One week from tomorrow, I get a chance to experience this all over again. And with much tighter spacing than ever before, I get to see how many neighbors of my parents I can scare, as well as how many house will come close to falling prey to the ever-constant onslaught of some light artillery shelling! I can't wait!