I rarely tell people how to live their lives. This IS America after all. Unfortunately, I need to deviate slightly from my “live and let live” mentality to speak directly to a few of you about something important.
You see, celebrating the fourth of July with fireworks is one of the most American things you can do – like standing solemnly during the National Anthem or having dangerously high cholesterol. I love remembering our history – the fact that we are a nation forged by the sheer will and courage of men to break free from a self-serving, overbearing, and unsupportive monarchy in order to create a better way forward. It must be celebrated properly.
During the Revolutionary War, there were two types of people that stuck around. The first group are those that grabbed their muskets and joined the militia to fight. The second group hid in their cellars and basements hoping it would all end soon and that they would somehow survive. In modern times, that first group celebrates every July fourth with fireworks … a symbol of the beauty born from the hell of war. The latter group hides in their living rooms and complains on Facebook about fireworks making too much noise.
So in the name of all things ‘Murican (i.e. George Washington, bald eagles, giant foam fingers, and those foot-long hotdogs they sell at baseball games), please allow me to address these commonly heard “anti-fireworks” statements that always circulate this time of year.
“Be Courteous to Veterans with PTSD!”
Let’s just get this one out of the way up front. Most veterans cringe every year when this picture starts making its rounds on the internet. I’m a veteran and although fireworks don’t affect me, I know what it’s like to come home from a deployment and have some shit to work through. Most of us, however, don’t feel the need to make our problems everyone else’s problems. We fight for your freedom and we want you to have it … so enjoy the 4th and blow some shit up.
That being said, if one of your neighbors’ PTSD is so bad that they feel it’s necessary to put this sign in their yard, then it is your duty show up to their house on the 4th with a case of beer and some Bon Jovi records to listen to at full blast. Drink until you are both unconscious. Next to shooting fireworks, this is the 2nd most American thing you can do to celebrate Independence Day.
HOWEVER, if you share this image on your HOA Facebook page, not really knowing anyone with PTSD, but just don’t like fireworks because they frighten your poodle, you are a DIRT BAG and should be ashamed of yourself. Which leads me to another common complaint.
“These fireworks are terrifying my dog!”
To answer the question posed in this pitiful poster, “Yes … Yes they are quite necessary.” We didn’t fight off the Redcoats with balloons and confetti. It required violence and sacrifice that must be remembered, respected, and never watered down. Your dog’s fear of loud noises isn’t a sufficient reason to not properly celebrate the birth of our great nation. Lock your dog in the bathroom and turn on the fart fan. Unless your neighbor is trying to get your dog to swallow a lit M-80 covered in peanut butter, I promise Ole Yeller will survive this night.
“It’s past the 4th and people are still shooting off fireworks?!?!”
Follow me on this little journey through time, if you will. During the Revolutionary War, combat was not isolated to public parks, noise ordinances, or 15 minute battles with Lee Greenwood songs playing in the background. It was in their towns, on their farms – it was among them. And it lasted much longer than one night. In fact, it lasted over 8 years. There were over 3000 consecutive nights where our countrymen heard explosions in the night. So this year, on those nights following the 4th when fireworks are still going off, I want you to stand on your back porch, close your eyes and imagine that those explosions are not bottle rockets and roman candles – but canons and muskets instead. Think about what you would do in that moment. Then open your eyes and be thankful that it has already been done for you.
If this is too deep of a thought for you then maybe consider that your neighbor just bought more fireworks than they could shoot in one night and doesn’t want them to go to waste. Fireworks are expensive. Just be cool about it.
“All that noise is keeping my kids up!”
Look, I get it. I have 2 young girls. It kinda sucks when they don’t sleep. They can be cranky little monsters the next day. But again, you must embrace it. Just let them stay up late and watch the show. Even if they are babies. It is not going to ruin them or you. If you are a new mom or dad trying to console a crying newborn, trust me, this will not be the hardest thing you have to parent your way through in your kid’s lifetime. Pour yourself a tall whiskey, put on some Johnny Cash music and rock that little booger back to sleep.
Having said all of this, have a very fun and safe 4th of July. Don’t blow your fingers off, don’t start a brush fire, and clean up your mess when you are done. Now I’ll leave you with some inspiring words from the primary author of the Declaration of Independence:
“It’s time to fire up the grills, crack open some beers, and get our freedom on, bitches!”
– Thomas Jefferson, 1776, probably