July 4th: Celebrating the Making of a Nation

Happy 4th of July! The American Flag in Fireworks

Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr

I think I shot off some sixty or so bottle rockets last night. 

Starting this year the private launching of aerials is legal in Utah, but when I grew up there it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean I never shot off the occasional bottle rocket in my rebellious youth, but my parents raised me to obey the law and I did…for the most part.

Now I live in Wyoming, and not just Wyoming but Evanston. That’s significant, because there are a lot of things that are legal in Wyoming that Utahns drive to Evanston to do…including firecrackers and bottle rockets. In the westernmost part of town near where I live there is a concentration of fireworks resellers that cater to Utah buyers.  Last year some time one of them caught fire and put on quite a show.  No people or other property was in danger and so the Fire Department, to their credit, did the safe thing.  They stood around at a safe distance with the rest of us and said “Oooooo!  Ahhhhhh!”

Perhaps as a side effect of interstate fireworks smuggling it seems that Evanston has evolved into somewhat of an astonishing place to celebrate the Fourth.  

The inhabitants of every fourth or fifth house, and their friends and kin, get together and launch every conceivable variety of commercial grade aerial fireworks…so in any neighborhood one gets to do a great deal of oooooos and ahhhhhhs from the end of ones own driveway.

Alternatively, one can join the congregation which gathers to watch the city’s fireworks display from the Smith’s (grocery store and strip mall) parking lot…which escalates into a huge tailgate pyrotechnics party where hot black powder smoke is so thick that it stings the eyes, burns the throat and becomes grit between one’s teeth. It is a whole heckofalotafun! I mean it! It’s my favorite way to enjoy the night of the Fourth in these parts.

There is even the option of driving up to one of the more elevated locations north or south of town. A vast, city-wide fireworks display unfolds before your eyes as you view all of what I just described both from up close and afar.

Is this patriotic fervor? I think no more than anywhere else in the country. I do enjoy it though and look forward to it every year. If I ever move somewhere else I might just come back here every so often to visit a friend or something on July 4th.

During the day, we watched the video “A More Perfect Union” chronicling the making of the United States Constitution.  The American colonies under the British Crown were treated as second class citizens in many ways. They were also stuck between the conflict of living at the edge the wilderness on the one side while still subject to tight British rules and culture on the other. This situation bred a freedom-loving people, attitude, and government that while built upon the cultures and ideas of others in history, combined into something very special and unique that was the first…and has became the largest and most powerful example…of its kind on Earth.

It was all born on the Fourth of July in the year 1776. 

I think that’s worth burning some black powder, both then and now.  The small explosions we made yesterday on the Fourth are a metaphor for the blood that was spilt in the harder times past.  The freedom that is the right of every human on Earth is granted by God, but not by men.  It had to be paid for in the blood of martyrs and patriots.

The Declaration of Independence who’s signing we celebrate was not a document to rule a nation, and the Articles of Confederation that governed the early free colonies turned out to be insufficient for the needs of a large and growing country.  However, it emphasized humankind’s God-given right to be free from oppression, and started the ball that is The United States of America rolling.

Those who read this blog hear me complain about a lot of things government.  But make no mistake…I love this country, its system of government, its laws, its freedoms, and its people.

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee (original lyrics)

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

~ by Bill Housley on July 5, 2011.

2 Responses to “July 4th: Celebrating the Making of a Nation”

  1. thanks for the great article… i didn’t have much of a 4th this year, and it was nice to see it as you did!

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