Skip to main content.


I just got done watching the fireworks show. It was pretty impressive, though there was no accompanying laser show, no 1812 Overture, no choreographed grand finale.

I can't remember ever deciding to not go to the big 4th of July fireworks shows down at the city park, or, as they're done here in Tucson, on "A" Mountain. I just realized that I haven't been in several years. Maybe it was when they stopped caring about whether they actually did them on, you know, the 4th? Of July?

This year's show, though, was pretty impressive. My backyard got lit up a few times bright enough to read a book by. A couple of the booms almost, but not quite, rattled the windows. I nearly broke my neck turning around and around to keep up with them.

There must have been 8 or ten different houses just in my neighborhood launching some pretty impressive boomers, with a few distant, silent sparks indicating that my neighborhood was not alone. There were no computer-controlled mortar-launched shells that you'll see at a more civic event, but it impressive nonetheless. One house had a bunch of those multi-shot whistling things. Another had a stock of those big starburst works that would blow a hundred feet up. Yet another just had roman candles launched in intermittent bursts of wanton exuberance.

Another group, with an apparently more guerrilla approach to the whole thing, was moving down the dry wash next to my house lighting a whole bunch of different stuff, obviously smuggled across the border from New Mexico (or maybe Old Mexico) sometime in the last few weeks. At one point, they set off what must have been a brick of firecrackers that went on for 2-3 full minutes at a rate that made it impossible to distinguish each individual crack. I couldn't see them, but it was obvious that by the time the last part of their contribution had lit up the wash, they were already moving downstream toward the next spot.

I joined in the scattered applause and cheers sounding from houses blocks away every time a particularly good one went up. I was applauding for my appreciation for the show, true. But I was also offering these anonymous, unseen renegades a pat on the back. None of them had applied for a permit, none had asked permission. None had heeded the inane admonitions that have been on TV all week to leave the fireworks to the professionals.

They wanted to have fun, so they just went out and had it. It was their fun, and nobody was going to have it for them. And so it became my fun, too. It may have only been a vague, fading shadow of the spirit of '76, but if that's all the rebellion and independence left in Independence Day, I'll take it. I'll let it be enough tonight that at least some tiny part of this one day's meaning has not been lost.


No comments yet

Add Comment

This item is closed, it's not possible to add new comments to it or to vote on it