I live on the beach, so the 4th of July is usually a noisy, colorful celebration that sparkles across the night sky from sundown to midnight, with a few inebriated revelers lurching about until dawn, setting off the occasional Roman candle just to keep the rest of us on our toes.
Not so this year.
Extreme fire danger prompted authorities to ban fireworks.
Bans rarely enjoy unanimous compliance here. Especially on the 4th of July. I mean, in a country that treasures individual freedom above all else…a nation based on rebellion…you think we’re going to do as we’re told on the very holiday that honors revolution?
But this year was different.
The fireworks displays were fewer and farther between. Instead of sitting on my beach, feeling the ground reverberate, hearing my windows rattle, and keeping a hose handy for the vagrant sparks the wind would fan my way…instead of all that, I listened to quiet voices in the dark.
I listened to an elderly gentleman tell the story of the American Revolution to grandchildren who weren’t distracted by pyrotechnics.
I watched a young father raise his daughter to his shoulders and point out the dazzling constellations that glittered overhead in a crystal clear sky.
I heard someone whisper ‘We’re so lucky to live here.’
And I have to agree.
Happy Birthday, America.
Thank you for taking my people in, so I could call you ‘home.’