Fireworks are magical and uniting.
A week ago, as people were celebrating our nation’s independence all over, I was celebrating in UNC’s football stadium with over 27,000 other people. (article here) Although I’m not a resident of Chapel Hill, and despite the huge crowd, there was a feeling of community… that small-town feeling.
A band played, there was a watermelon eating contest, the national anthem, and of course, the event so many people came for- the fireworks.
I have always loved fireworks.
I remember summers ago when I was a little itty bitty thing, my family would vacation in the mountains. On July 4th, we would drive up to some public viewing point on the side of a mountain, pop open the back of my grandparents’ minivan, and curl up with blankets, in complete awe of the light show going on above us. I remember going to Durham Bulls games as a little girl, and anxiously awaiting the fireworks at the end of the seemingly long nine innings. I remember seeing fireworks at the state fair, and my dad stuffing cotton balls in my ears. I remember beach trips when my rambunctious uncle would set off dozens of fireworks and get in trouble. And then there’s the year he set off fireworks for his little girl; she stood on the front porch yelling, “gimme firework!” Basically, fireworks hold many special memories for me.
The fireworks show from July 4th this year in Chapel Hill was amazing. Right now, it’s considered the most epic fireworks show I’ve seen, and I’ve seen my fair share. Firework shows in the future are going to be hard to top.
I love how the crowd gets silent as the lights quickly shut off and everything goes black. Then, as if from nowhere, the first firework flies up into the air, and with a “boom” it explodes into bright blues and golds. Another one explodes, this time in red and silver. Next is purple and green. The sky is filled with color. As the fireworks increase, the crowd praises the light show with collective “oohs” and “ahhs.” Children scream at the loud noises, but are in awe of the beautiful colors playing in the sky.
Couples sit cuddled together, unaware (or uncaring) of the hot Carolina temperatures. Hands intertwined, heads leaning on one another… love is in the air as fireworks dance in the sky.
Little ones curled up against their parents’ chests, hands covering up their ears, eyes fixed on the sky above. They laugh at the games the fireworks play overhead; clapping their hands in excitement as a new sparkly set begins.
As all this was going on around me, I just sat there secretly hoping the fireworks wouldn’t end. My eyes riveted with the show. Thoughts flew through my head and I tried to chase them away, only wanting to focus my eyes above, but so many things popped into my head- how much I loved fireworks, thoughts of how thankful I was (am) to live in a country where I have so many rights and freedoms that I take for granted, thoughts about how I hope to someday share an experience like this with my future man, with my future children. It was as if my mind was dancing in rhythm with the fireworks.
When the colorful explosions finally ended, the crowd itself exploded into a thunderous applause. I think I speak for everyone there that night, when I say that it was a magical and uniting experience. For the first time in a while, it felt as it everyone was at peace with one another, happy to live together in the United States of America. It felt as if we were all a part of a community, regardless of our backgrounds, languages, or education. I left the stadium with an uncontrollable happiness, unable to erase a smile from my face, and an elated feeling. That special fireworks show blessed me more than I can explain.
July 4, 2012 was the first time that fireworks truly left me speechless and fulfilled.
Have you ever witnessed a fireworks show that made you feel that way? Are fireworks an annual holiday tradition for you or your family?