Red, White and BOOM!

Red, White and BOOM!

As holidays go, the 4th of July is one of my absolute favorites.  Sometimes there’s BBQ involved, often homemade ice cream comes into play, occasionally a family gathering, or maybe even all three of those at once, which makes for a really fun time.  But of all the Independence Day traditions that abound, it’s the fireworks that truly make it special for me.

All across America last night (and in some places tonight, or even tomorrow night) untold quantities of cash were literally blown up in the sky.  It seems odd, doesn’t it, that we scrimp and save and pinch pennies for most of the year, but come July 4, not only do we collectively set a match to millions, we enjoy it!  How and why this particular tradition began is something I’ll have to research someday.  It’s a good bet, though, that the Founding Fathers never could have imagined how we’d be celebrating their signing of the Declaration of Independence all these years down the road.

My parents were children of the Depression, and I’ve mentioned before that I’m a devoted student of the Dave Ramsey School of Financial Peace.  So it makes no sense whatsoever for me to be so enthralled by the sight of so much money going up in smoke–however colorful–on an annual basis.  But every year, when this little farming community puts out the jars and the coffee cans at local businesses to collect for the Fireworks Fund, we all pull together for the Cause.  The local volunteer fire department donates their time and expertise in planning and executing the show at the city park, where everyone gathers on their blankets and lawn chairs.  The Boy Scouts sell hamburgers, hotdogs and soda pop, there’s kettle corn for sale at another booth, and sometimes snow cones or funnel cakes.  When the daylight diminishes and the announcer introduces the music with our National Anthem, all voices still.  People of all ages are on their feet, hands on their hearts, gazing across the lake toward the command center for the festivities.  And when the final tones of “O’er the Land of the Free . . . and the Home of the Brave!” fade away, the show begins.  We’re captivated.  We’re proud to be Americans.  We’re spoiled rotten by the abundance and the privilege and the money-wasting excesses of our society.  And for that hour, at least, I’m glad of it.

Three cheers for the Red, White and BOOM!