Saturday, July 09, 2011

Living in a War Zone?

By Keith N Fisher

I have no words of wisdom about writing today except, keep the faith. While thinking of subjects for this blog I realized, I went through the whole weekend and never wrote about Independence Day. I figured I should write something, so . . .

What did you think of the fireworks this year? Not the commercial ones displayed by municipalities, I’m talking about the at-home do-it-yourself kind. I tried to nap before going to work on Monday and was kept awake by all the bangs, cracks, booms and whistles outside. Much of it reminded me of gunfire, but as I left for work that evening, I was surrounded by explosive displays that reminded me of the videos I saw on the news after the US invasion of Iraq.

There we were, in our own neighborhood, living in a war zone because of the celebration. Later, a friend told me how much he spent on fireworks to entertain his grandkids. I wondered how much my neighbors spent on their own displays. Then I factored in all the other neighborhoods. I came up with figures that boggle my imagination.

Don’t think I’m not a fan of fireworks, I am. There’s nothing like lighting the fuse on a colorful marketing ploy, and standing back. The next half-second brings the big pay-off with loud bangs, whistles, and sparks flying. You have to wonder, however, if it’s worth the often fifty-dollars each, price tag. This year, new legislation allowed us to buy certain aerial kinds that delighted the connoisseur. Perhaps that’s why so many localities resembled war zones.

With all the frenzy, it made me wonder . . .

In this day of budget worries, whole neighborhoods are being foreclosed. Politicians claim our national debt is out of control. The economy is causing unemployment, and people want to cut our government purse strings. Yet, with all this hoopla, we still find money for fireworks.

“But, it’s all about patriotism,” you say.

I remember when showing our patriotism meant traveling eighteen miles to a specific store. Fireworks were sold there, by the piece, like penny-candy. We’d shell out our cherry picking money and come home with bags, full of delightful specimens, (no illegal firecrackers, and no sparklers). It was all about the red, white, and blue—that special day of independence. It was cheaper then. Life was cheaper then, but if I didn’t pick cherries during a specific year, I didn’t get any fireworks.

Before you miss my point, you should know I’m not, anti fireworks. Consider this,

And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof, through the night, that our flag was still there.

THe detainees, and those who were imprisoned aboard ship that night, really thought their nation was in peril. They knew if the flag fell, it would indicate their comrades had fallen. The lights in the sky provided hope because they could see the flag still flying.

Other than a little missed sleep this year, I have no problems. Even with the new regulations, I’m pleasantly surprised. There were very few incidents of wildfires and accidents this year. What could be better? Well . . .

Each year, at Christmas, I hear stories about families who donate their entire Christmas budget to charity. The whole concept is fascinating. So . . .

I’m proposing an Independence Day outreach. Who can deny the warm feelings of love expressed at Christmas when a needy family is helped? Currently, victims of war and natural disasters in the world need help. That’s not, to mention the suffering of US citizens.

Let’s turn our nation’s birthday into, a gift from democracy holiday. Since we are so affluent, lets show it. What better way could there be of transplanting freedom across the world? We could be known as the country that cares. I know, many others collect money for those victims, including two ex-presidents, but . . .

Well, okay. I’m plagued with hope that someday, we will have peace. Still, there were a lot of cool fireworks this year, don’t you think?

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

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