What the Fourth of July and Fireworks Mean to Me Now

Fireworks & Another Fourth of July

For those who live in the USA, July fourth is kind of a big deal. Many have the day off from work and/or school (thank you to those who provide essential services, holiday or not). Some take vacations. Some plan backyard barbecues. Some go to movies. Some start counting the days til school starts up again. Some gather for family reunions. Some attend baseball games. And of course, some watch fireworks. Hopefully all Americans, take a few minutes to reflect upon our country’s history and how far we’ve come since that very first Independence Day. 

America, even with all its flaws and problems, is and always has been, pretty darn great.

If you live in the USA, what does the Fourth of July mean to you?

No matter where you live, what does watching fireworks mean to you, if anything?

For me, the Fourth of July holiday is jam packed with memories. Some of them wonderful. Some not so great. Some bittersweet.

I have countless wonderful memories from childhood. There were trips to North Dakota to visit my grandparents where there’d be firecrackers and sparklers, cousins to catch up with, birthdays to celebrate and Dairy Queen sundaes to devour, to name a few things to fondly recollect.

Fast forward to when my kids were young, the Fourth of July meant grilling hot dogs, eating ice cream dessert, watching Jaws and then hopping in the car to go watch fireworks. Fireworks were a big deal! Decisions had to be made about where to go to watch them followed by deciding whether to remain in the car and swelter vs. sitting outside and potentially spending more time swatting mosquitoes than gazing at fireworks.

Such dilemmas.

And of course, there was The Summer that Wasn’t. That Fourth of July also brings some not-so-good memories. Like recovering from my bilateral mastectomy, tissue expanders, pain pills, sleepless nights on the blue, leather sofa and preparing for chemo though, of course, I had no idea how to do that. Who would, right?

And there is last year’s Fourth of July.

Last year on the Fourth of July, my dad’s final days were upon us, though perhaps my siblings and I didn’t fully realize or accept this at the time.

Last year the Fourth of July was spent at my Dad’s bedside where he was recovering from a surgical procedure offering us glimmers of hope for a bit more time with him. We positioned his bed, as well as ourselves, to better view the explosions of color and pops of sound coming to us via a hospital window.

Moments of living mixed with moments of dying.

And here we are, another year later.

Whenever I view fireworks from here on out, along with all the memories of years gone by, I’ll remember that special Fourth of July spent with my dad. I’ll remember our little group huddled in the dark at his bedside viewing fireworks and a whole lot more.

Bittersweet memories, yes, but treasures for my heart forever, as are so many others.

Whenever I see fireworks, I’ll see you, too, Dad.

The Fourth of July and watching fireworks mean something different to me now, or rather something more.

To all my USA readers, Have a fun and safe Fourth of July. Go make some memories.

If you live in the USA, how do you celebrate the Fourth of July, or do you?

No matter where you live, what does watching fireworks mean to you?

Do you have a Fourth of July memory to share?

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Fireworks & Another Fourth of July, what they mean to me now.

 

Fireworks image via Adam Carter/Flickr. Used and adapted under CC licensing.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Fireworks & Another Fourth of July

  1. Last year on July 4th I brought my Mom from nursing home to see my sister who was at inpatient hospice. Mom died unexpectedly 4 days later, July 8th. Big sister died on July 25th.

    Growing up we had the best holiday! Our community had, and still has, all day activities topped off w/ fireworks by Zambelli. All within walking distance of our house. Have seen fireworks in DC, Doheny Beach, & San Diego. Some years just watched on TV w/Mom.

    When I watch fireworks, I feel grateful to live in the US, in awe of the founders who gave up everything. I feel hope & joy because it is a strictly celebratory holiday. And darned amazed at how these fireworks shows are meticulously created over months, all to be blown up in under an hour. Love it!

    1. Renee, I am very sorry about your mom and your sister, too. So many memories for you during July. I’m glad you have wonderful ones from years gone by as well. They help balance things out. July 4th will be hard for me this year, yes, but really no harder than any ordinary day. Fireworks mean something different to me now, that’s for sure, or rather something more. Thank you for sharing. Again, I’m sorry.

  2. Nancy,

    I, too, have many fond Fourth of July memories, especially when I was a kid. Of course, I remember getting chemo around that time, so my memories are not all pleasant. I love the pretty colors of the fireworks, but I hate the noisy ones that aren’t pretty. The noise jars me and my cat Hemi. It was very poignant describing how you all watched fireworks by your dad’s hospital bed.

    xoxo

    1. Beth, The noise of fireworks used to drive Elsie crazy, so I relate to how Hemi reacts. I will never watch fireworks again without also thinking about my dad. Special memories for sure. Thank you for sharing.

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