I think I’ve avoided this post. Last year on the fourth of July, it was surreal for me. We were staying of Ford Island, waiting for our house. We walked over to find a seat that showed the harbor. I felt like we were walking among ghosts of the past to celebrate what so many have died for, our Independence. It was spectacular and surreal the feeling I felt. Of course, I was also corralling kids, worried about the water at dark and getting our snacks out. The fireworks lit the harbor and that my friends is what an Independence celebration should be about. 

I remember fireworks as a child. Mostly bottle rockets and weird flares and sparklers. I remember Mom worrying that one of their friends would take someone’s eye out one year with rockets balanced on old glass coke bottles. (What were they thinking?) This year for us there were no fireworks.

Did you know that the tradition of fireworks began as early as 1777? John Adams was known to encourage them. Back then the grand finale usually involved the firing of 13 cannons or showing thirteen stars. It was a big deal. I thought for a second about writing this because I know so many were injured this year in California. Explosives are dangerous and a healthy fear of them is a good thing. This year, our fireworks didn’t exist. It made me really, really sad.

The kids didn’t understand why fireworks weren’t visible from our neighborhood. We might have been able to see them from a distance if we had driven over to Hickam to Dog Beach. It’s just not the same as watching them fire off over Pearl Harbor. Thank you sequestration. Friends are losing 20% of their pay. I have to plan my shopping around the new commissary schedules which should read closures. Our healthcare is not like it used to be. Ours pools are closed. Our kids don’t get the same types of recreation. Our spouses are deployed for even longer periods of time and doing double duty at work. The fireworks became the cherry on top for me. It’s my straw that broke my camel’s back. What happened to trying to remember the Rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air and what we went through to be free? Oh that’s right, we are giving up our freedoms daily in favor of safety. What has congress and our president given up? I’d like to ask them. 

We still had a wonderful time with some really great friends. My kids threw poppers at the pavement, rode their bikes through the ‘hood and played kick the can and capture the flag into the wee hours. It was a bit of just another long holiday in this military ‘hood though. Here are some of the highlights…