Friday, July 4, 2008

It's the 4th

I know a lot of people really love this holiday. It doesn't mean too much to me these days. I guess that's kind of sad, but I'm indifferent. I'm patriotic, but it seems that patriotism is often the last thing on a lot of people's minds when they celebrate the 4th. It's about barbecues and fireworks, usually. Just like many holidays, we tend to see what's on the surface and fail to give much thought to the reasons or depth of the special day. In my "old age," I find that I pay more attention to the history and meanings behind special days than I do to the hooplah.

This is especially true this year as fires rage in Northern California. I don't see the smoke so much the last couple of days, nor do I smell it, but I am noticing the effects on my breathing and in my burning eyes. I'm suffering, but not as much as those who are losing homes and perhaps loved ones, and let's not forget the poor little animals losing habitats and lives.

Yes, I guess I'm being a little morose today. Today is a day when we are supposed to celebrate our nation and our independence. While fireworks are a great way to celebrate, they can also be detrimental and go against the purpose of this day. How does setting fire to our lands and causing destruction celebrate the American Dream? I admit, I'm sounding a bit extreme. I really love fireworks, but this year I am especially concerned about the dangers and hazards. I really hope that revelers can be safe and not cause any more damage than has already been done, exacerbated by a dry winter.

Colorful fireworks displays are especially nice and I'm sure I'll miss them this year. There will be more, though. I'm not a fan of firecrackers and things that go BOOM, though, just for the mere purpose of making noise. Other than sticking them in anthills and blowing them to kingdom come, I don't much see the point. We have a lot of firecracker lovers in our neighborhood. We just tolerate them. Every June and July they are lit for the 4th of July. We get more in December and January for Christmas and New Year's Eve. In February they go off in celebration of the Chinese New Year and in May they explode for Cinco de Mayo. The days in between those special days can bring any number of booms in either build-up or the aftermath of those special days, which pretty much fills in all the gaps. I wonder if we would be able to tell the culprits by their hearing deficiencies.

The other morning I heard what I thought was a single firecracker and I thought it was odd, given the time and that it didn't have the same kind of rhythm as firecrackers. Sadly, this was a gunshot and not a firecracker. A woman was killed not too far from here. Not in our neighborhood, but too close for comfort. I guess I have especially good hearing, as it was about one and a half miles from my house, probably closer "as the crow flies" and right across the street from where I buy my groceries. Very sad. A couple of years ago I heard gunshots from an apartment complex about 5 blocks from here. They do sound a bit different from firecrackers, but when we get so many firecracker booms, and really very few gunshot booms, it's easy to question them after and second-guess the judgment. Nobody wants to hear the sounds of a life being taken away.


Baby Step said...

That POOR woman. It is just awful.

karenf said...

Yea, the animals are scared out of their wits too. And this year was especially wicked for us, everytime the girls would go down for the night, more popping would erupt in the street. They didn't get to sleep until after 10pm! Luckily the cops were cruising around and stopped the noise, but only after me and Will were pulling our hair out. I hear ya, 4th of July is geting to be a pain. Maybe it will be better when the girls can enjoy the fireworks in the sky.