It was Founding Father John Adams who began the tradition of fireworks on the the 4th of July. In a letter he wrote to his wife Abigail, July 2, 1776, he waxed poetic about his vision of the “Glorious 4th”. Adams said we should “solemnize” our celebration of independence with:
“Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
The very next year, Adams and some of his fellow congressional representatives set up a 13 rocket display in Philadelphia. Six years after that first congressional fireworks show, in 1783, North Carolina Governor Alexander Martin issued an executive order for his state to celebrate the Fourth of July. All the other states soon copied his lead.
We’ve done pretty well with making our second president’s dream come true. In fact, last night from my front lawn, I could see two different displays being set off over two nearby lakes, one to the north and one to the south. I literally didn’t know which way to look. But there are a lot of people who won’t be able to watch the fireworks displays this year. No fireworks on military bases is now official congressional policy.
That’s right. Fireworks have been cancelled on most military bases this year. The “Sequester”, designed by congress to make everyone so miserable they would never let it take effect, has put an end to John Adams’ vision of “from this Time forward forever more”, in our most patriotic of places.
A few lucky bases have found a philanthropic civilian backer. Fort Hood, in Texas, has dipped into profits from their recycling center to save their show. But most of the men and women who serve this nation, and the children who stoically endure their long absences, will see nothing tonight but dark skies.
Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Shaw Air Force Base, Parris Island, and the Cowpens National Battlefield, in South Carolina, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, are just some of the places that had to cancel their firework displays this year. The wife of a master gunnery sergeant at Camp Lejeune, Brandy Rhoad Stowe, put it as well as anyone:
“I know fireworks might seem silly to other people. “But what is the Fourth of July without fireworks?”
Today is the day we celebrate the birth of the United States of America. But in light of their Sequester, the congressional gift that just keeps taking, let us pause a moment to remember that national obscenity we call Congress. Our elected officials and their diabolical Sequester have made it entirely appropriate for every citizen in America to use the phrase “Bah humbug!” on the 4th of July – and all year round. And while we are directing our attention toward Washington, let us not miss the sad fact that there are no heroic leaders closeted in a room in the bowls of the Capitol today, trying to end the Sequester. It was designed to be bad policy, but they are happy to let it ride.
So happy Independence Day Congress! May I offer my congratulations on your outstanding achievements: most petty, most mean-spirited, most selfishly motivated and the most incompetent bunch of elected officials in American history. Bah Humbug. .
Photo is via freedigitalphotos.net
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.