There is no better slice of Americana than Independence Day, when, from sea to shining sea, friends, family, acquaintances and even perfect strangers will gather to celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. We will do it on land, aboard vessels, alongside barbecues, with burgers, beer and bravado. And at sundown, with bombs bursting mid air.
Growing up, standing on our front lawn, gingerly writing our names in the air with sparklers, my sisters and I thought that was the bomb! Then our father would set off some 'safe and sane' numbers out in the street. There were no bottle rockets, molotov cocktails or tree fires. Just good old-fashioned patriotic fun.
Somewhere, i'm sure, there was mischief, as there will likely be again tomorrow. But on this Fourth of July eve, herewith are some important things to remember:
Be obedient. Respect authority and the traffic cops policing crowds. If you aren't in familiar surroundings, make yourself familiar with the restrictions regarding firworks, alcohol consumption, etc. When someone else gets ticketed, you'll be glad you did.
Be respectful of the property of others - whether it be public or private. July Fourth IS NOT a license to disregard the rights of others and torch consideration in a blaze of glory.
Clean up after yourself. Make sure you have a bucket of water on hand for the used fireworks, along with trash bags to haul your leftovers. Don't assume someone else will come and clean your mess!
If you plan to put on your own show, keep it LEGAL. Don't endanger yourself and others by lighting up gunpowder in order to show your patriotic pride.
Remember, too, to respect the noise ordinance. If you are still firing off smoke bombs at midnight, your neighbors will want to declare their independence from you!
The Fourth of July, wrapped in stars, stripes, patriotism and good times, should also be a display of the very best in us, courteous and civilized, respectful behavior. Because It 'Manners' A lot!
Happy Birthday America!