July 04, 2022

While Zena and I were walking our neighborhood I was surprised by the number of yards decorated for Fourth of July.  Our subdivision has always had proliferations of displays for Halloween and Christmas, and even a few displays for Thanksgiving.  We also have quite a few houses which fly American flags on holidays and special occasions.  Even permanent flag displays and flag poles have become more prevalent over the last several years.  However, this is the first year I have noticed the yard displays for the Fourth.  Most of these displays are small and consist of small flags lining the walls or driveways, but one house went all out.  The display had 3 foot (1 m) high blowup letters spelling freedom along the walkway to the house, a 40 inch (1 m) inflatable Uncle Sam, and a 7 foot (2 m) inflatable bald eagle with red and white stripped wings and a blue vest full of stars.  This was accompanied by the flags and flag bunting around the yard and windows-white-and blue wings set with stars.  I am sure many of these same yards will contribute to the neighborhood fireworks demonstrations that mark the day in our community.

When I looked online, I found the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will be back at The Hatch Memorial Shell for the first time since 2019.  The Boston tradition has been sidelined during the pandemic but will return to Boston’s Charles River Esplanade on the fourth of July.  The usual rehearsal by The Boston Pops on Sunday, July 3 will happen, but the rehearsal “will be closed to the public to focus on the return of the Fourth of July holiday celebration,” according to Pops.  The July 3rd show does not include fireworks but has always been popular because it is less crowded than the show on the 4th.  The program on the fourth runs from 8 pm – 11 pm and includes a world-renowned fireworks display.  The 2022 Fireworks Spectacular will include a special moment in memory of David Mugar, who died this past January.  Mugar’s support of Boston’s Independence Day celebration began in 1974 and transformed the event into one of the most recognized Independence Day celebrations in the country.  Melissa and I attended the fourth concert several years ago along with 3 million of our closest friends.  Melissa checked off another item on her bucket list.

While the fireworks are returning to Boston, they are still absent in other locals.  When my son was small, we usually spent the Fourth at his grandparent’s house in Colorado.  The town is named for the landmark mesa that jutted out of the prairie in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that appeared from a distance to look like a castle.  Every Fourth the Castle Rock Fire and Rescue would hold a display that was visible for miles around.  I recall attending two years in a row where the display never made it to the finale due to falling debris igniting the dry grass and sagebrush surrounding the rock outcrop.   The third year the Fire Department gave up and called off the event because of dry conditions.  I saw the town’s officials decided to proactively cancel the Fourth of July fireworks show again this year.  The community has been under Stage 1 fire restrictions since April 21.  Conditions are not expected to improve before July 4 and may get worse.  Stage 1 fire restrictions permit the sale of fireworks, but not the use of the private fireworks you just bought.  You can buy them; you just cannot shoot them.  I wonder how well that goes.

THOUGHTS:  Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart said, “The past three years have given us profound lessons on the importance of not taking things for granted and appreciating the many everyday gifts of our lives, as well as caring and looking out for each other.  I am so grateful that we can come together once again to celebrate Independence Day and all that we aspire to be as citizens of this great country and the city we’re proud to call home.”  Appreciating the people and things of our past (and present) is part of the celebration of life we all experience.  It is not about us; it is about us.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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